2 Abu Sayyaf killed, 2 wounded in Sulu clash
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group were killed in an encounter on Tuesday morning in Sulu, while two others were reportedly wounded.
Colonel Gerry Besana, public affairs officer of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the encounter took place in Barangay Lihbog Kabaw in the town of Panglima Estino, though the mayor of the town strongly denied there was such an incident.
Besana said two Abu Sayyaf members were killed and another two wounded in a 5 a.m. encounter on Tuesday when the Philippine Marines ran into more than a hundred bandits under Radullan Sahiron, Idang Susukan and Almujer Yadah.
“The troops were conducting a focused military operation when they encountered the bandits,” he said.
Reported killed were a certain Tuan Yah and Nahal Sahiron, a nephew of Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron.
Besana said no casualty was listed on the government side. Also recovered from the encounter site were M653 and M14 rifles.
The wounded suspects were immediately sent to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital for medical treatment.
Panglima Estino town mayor Ben Estino, however, denied that an encounter took place in Lihbog Kabaw.
“The encounter was not in our town. The encounter was in Barangay Kanlibut in the municipality of Talipao. The Marines have to correct their location. They are destroying the image of my town,” Estino told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
Estino said Barangay Kanlibut in Talipao is about 600 meters away from Lihbog Kabaw, the boundary barangay of Panglima Estino.
“What is worse,” Estino said is that “the Marines are forcing my barangay officials in Lihbog Kabaw to secure the cadavers. Hindi nga namin kilala ang mga napatay at nahuli (We don’t even know the bodies and those wounded).”
“I appreciate the efforts of the Marines to weed out lawless elements in Sulu, but at the same time, I also request them to be more precise in giving the location of the encounter,” Estino said.
The mayor told village officials of Lihbog Kabaw and in Tiptipon not to claim the cadavers because they don’t belong to their town.
He said the marines who engaged with the Abu Sayyaf were encamped in Barangay Lihbog Kabaw.
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