Scout Rangers overrun Sulu ASG camp where top bomber hid
ZAMBOANGA CITY, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR—Scout Rangers have overrun an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) camp believed to belong to the military’s most wanted bomber, Mundi Sawadjaan, in the town of Indanan, Sulu province on Tuesday (Sept. 22).
Lt. Col. Herbert Dilag, commanding officer of the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion, said the camp, which could accommodate more than 40 people, had been where Sawadjaan hid.
Dilag said the camp, which he described as “temporary,” had been occupied for three days by Sawadjaan’s group which had at least 40 members. Seized on the site were personal belongings and food, Dilag said.
The military refused to reveal the actual location of the camp since pursuit operations were still ongoing in the area.
Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the anti-terror Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS), said the Army was gaining tactical victories over the ASG, a homegrown terror group allied with Islamic State, after the Aug. 24 bombing in Jolo.
Sawadjaan is believed to be involved in the bombing which killed 17 people, including two of the bombers, and wounded more than 70 others.
Lt. Col. Ronaldo Mateo, spokesperson for the JTFS, said the camp was found around 9 a.m.
Mateo said pursuit operations are ongoing for Sawadjaan and his group “utilizing all land, sea and air assets” of the JTFS.
After the bombings, Mateo said three ASG members had been killed and nine surrendered.
“We are employing the full force of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu’s military assets to track down the group of Sawadjaan,” Gonzales said.
Sawadjaan’s group had clashed with soldiers from 45th Infantry Battalion in Patikul, Sulu on Sept. 20 and suffered heavy casualties.
Three ASG members, including a ranking leader, Samir Nani, were killed in a clash with the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion in Patikul, Sulu on Aug. 29 while nine other terrorists surrendered to the task force, according to Gonzales.
“We are winning in our peace and development campaign on the island of Sulu,” he said. “In due time, the terror group will surely be decimated with the support of the governor and municipal mayors,” Gonzales added.
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