Close  

Sayyaf attack: 5 soldiers killed

/ 05:32 AM November 18, 2018

HONORING BRAVERY President Duterte salutes a soldier during his visit in July to troops wounded in a clash with Abu Sayyaf in Sulu.—MALACAÑANG PHOTO

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Five soldiers were killed and at least 23 others were wounded in a clash with homegrown terror group Abu Sayyaf in Patikul town, Sulu province, on Friday.

Col. Gerry Besana, public affairs officer of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said more than 50 Abu Sayyaf fighters clashed with soldiers from the 41st Infantry Battalion in a clash that lasted more than an hour.

ADVERTISEMENT

Besana said 15 of the wounded soldiers were airlifted to Zamboanga City for medical treatment.

Besana said the soldiers were searching for hostages taken by Abu Sayyaf when the gunmen attacked them.

FEATURED STORIES

“The effort is part of our mission to rescue the remaining hostages,” Besana said.

Al-Qaida link

Abu Sayyaf is a homegrown group and a loose alliance of several hundred terrorists formed in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.

Friday’s clash was one of the deadliest since an Abu Sayyaf faction joined other foreign and Filipino terrorists in seizing the city of Marawi last year, leading to a five-month battle that claimed more than 1,100 lives.

Abu Sayyaf is now believed to hold “less than 10” hostages, Besana said.

The group is based in some parts of Mindanao, but its members began in 2016 to kidnap sailors in waters between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The terrorists have also raided and taken hostages from resorts in Malaysia.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ransom

Most of the hostages had been ransomed off for huge amounts of money and several were beheaded, including two Canadian tourists in 2016.

A Dutch bird-watcher kidnapped in 2012 is believed to be among those still in Abu Sayyaf’s hands.

The Dutchman’s Swiss colleague escaped in 2014 after grabbing a kidnapper’s machete and killing him.

The soldiers who survived Friday’s ambush did not see any hostages during the 90-minute clash, Besana said.

In September, a major Army offensive in Patikul led to the killing of seven Abu Sayyaf suspects whose relatives claimed were victims of mistaken identity. —Reports from Julie Alipala and AFP

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: 41st Infantry Battalion, abu sayyaf, slain soldiers, Western Mindanao Command
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.