Airstrikes launched vs Moro gunmen in Basilan
The firefight which started at about 10a.m., led to airstrikes for reinforcements in Colonia village in Lamitan City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.
Fresh fighting broke out on Friday, after a brief lull in the several encounters that were reported to have broken out since Wednesday night.
Friday’s encounter left six soldiers wounded so far, as they engaged about 100 Moro gunmen in a fierce firefight.
The firefight was reported to be still continuing as of 3 p.m. Friday, but details were still not available.
Forced evacuation in some villages in Lamitan City were implemented prior to the airstrikes.
In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Colonel Carlito Galvez of the Army’s 104th Brigade said that it was probable that the gunmen wanted to enter the city proper.
“They are really very resolute to get to Lamitan,” he said.
He also said it was possible that the Basilan fighting is connected to the ongoing standoff between government troops and MNLF in Zamboanga City which already reached its fifth day.
A military source told INQUIRER.net that turbo props and attack helicopters from the 15th Strike Wing in Davao were already sent to Zamboanga City to standby. It was not clear whether they will be used as reinforcements for Basilan or Zamboanga City.
Basilan is a boat ride away from Zamboanga City.