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Soldier hurt as teachers’ convoy ambushed

MAP of Patikul, Sulu

MAP of Patikul, Sulu

A soldier was injured when a security convoy assigned to a group of teachers was ambushed by suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Patikul, Sulu yesterday.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command, identified the injured soldier as Private First Class Ferdinand Payumo of the Philippine Army Special Forces.

The Special Forces and Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team were providing routine security carpooling for a group of teachers when they were waylaid by around five armed bandits in Sitio Kan Bangsawan, Barangay Kadday Mampallam at around 8 a.m., Sobejana said. Where the teachers were headed to was not disclosed.

A firefight ensued between the government troops and the bandits until reinforcement from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao-Police Regional Office responded, said Police Brig. Gen. Marni Marcos, regional director of the PRO-BARMM. “However, upon arriving in the area, they were also fired upon by the same lawless elements,” Marcos said.

The firefight lasted for a couple of minutes until the bandits withdrew towards south of Barangay Kadday Mampallam.

The teachers and the police were unharmed but Payumo sustained slight shrapnel wound in the back due to a possible rifle grenade explosion, Sobejana said.

Sobejana noted that the bandits used small firearms and an M203 grenade launcher.

Two teams of Special Forces have been sent to the area to conduct hot pursuit operations while police personnel were deployed for clearing operations. (Martin A. Sadongdong)