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1 soldier, 3 ASG men die in clash

By FRANCIS WAKEFIELD

A government soldier and three Abu Sayyaf terrorists were killed while 11 others were wounded following an encounter with some 60 members of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Patikul, Sulu, on Tuesday, the military Thursday disclosed.

Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo, the commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said operating troops of the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion led by Lieutenant Colonel Ronaldo Mateo encountered 60 Abu Sayyaf Group members at Sitio Kan Apo Aluk, Barangay Panglayahan, Patikul, Sulu at 1:55 p.m..

Pabayo said the Abu Sayyaf terrorist were identified as followers of ASG sub leader Hajan Sawadjaan.

It was learned that troops were scouring the area when they engaged the Abu Sayyaf in a firefight that lasted for two hours. This resulted to the death of a soldier and wounding of 11 others.

“We believe that a number of bandits were wounded and probably could have died due to loss of blood after Tuesday’s encounter,” Pabayo said.

“Reinforcements were deployed to block possible withdrawal of the enemy. Troops continue to scour the area,” he added.

Lt. Col. Gerry M. Besana, the spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom), said based on intelligence reports they received, three Abu Sayyaf members were killed while the number of wounded enemies is still undetermined.

He said on the government side, one soldier was killed in action and 11 others were wounded. Two of the wounded soldiers will be transferred to Camp Navarro General Hospital, Zamboanga City for further medication.

Pursuit operation still continues, he said.

Lieutenant General Dela Vega, the Commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said the encounter against the Abu Sayyaf gives them more resolve to further intensify their operations against the bandits.

“We recognize the commitment of our troops to thwart lawlessness, to the point of sacrificing even their lives,” he said.

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