4 Abu Sayyaf men slain in Basilan
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Four suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group were killed in an encounter at dawn on Wednesday, April 25, in Sitio Gipitan, Barangay Bohe Pahu, Ungkaya Pukan town in Basilan, the military said.
Brigadier General Fernando Reyeg, commander of the Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade in Basilan, said that apart from the four bodies recovered after the encounter, the troops also seized high-powered weapons, assorted ammunition, and components for explosives.
“The military offensive is yet another strong message against the ASG and other lawless elements in the province that they cannot escape the full force of the government,” Reyeg said.
He said the ground troops composed of 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion, 64th, and 18th Infantry Battalions and a reconnaissance unit from the 12th Division Recon Company were backed by air and artillery assault units.
“It was a focused military operation, so we assure no displacement of people,” Reyeg said.
He said the operation targeted the group of Furuji Indama, the Abu Sayyaf sub-leader in Basilan.
Recovered from the fight scene were three rifles (M14, M16 and R4), a handguard with more than 40 rounds of ammunition and six magazines for rifles, food items, a cellular phone, and explosive materials.
Colonel Ivan San Jose, commander of the 18th Infantry Battalion in Basilan, said the encounter happened around 1 a.m., involving some 20 fully armed ASG.
“Until now, we still have to ascertain the identities of the four bandits. I am sorry, they wanted this instead of availing of opportunities, should they surrender,” he said.
Reyeg admitted that while hundreds of former Abu Sayyaf have decided to surrender and avail themselves of government services, such as the Program Against Violent Extremism, there is still a number who opt to sow terror in Basilan.
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