4 Sayyaf members, soldier dead in Basilan
ZAMBOANGA CITY—At least four Abu Sayyaf bandits and a soldier were killed in a series of clashes in Basilan that started March 15, the military reported on Friday.
Col. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade based in the province, said Scout Ranger soldiers had hit one of the major camps of the Abu Sayyaf in Sumisip, Basilan.
He said the camp belongs to Puruji Indama.
Visaya said the clashes raged on until late Thursday.
He said the clashes started when Scout Ranger soldiers, who were verifying information that kidnapped Australian Warren Richard Rodwell was being kept in Baiwas, encountered Abu Sayyaf gunmen in Sitio Bohe Mabali on March 15.
“Our soldiers pursued them until they reached the northeastern part of Barangay Baiwas,” he said.
Task Force Basilan commander Col. Ramon Yogyog said it was only during the latest clash that the military suffered fatalities. One of them later died at a military hospital, he said.
Yogyog said the pursuing soldiers came under fire from a blocking force the Abu Sayyaf had established in Sitio Pansol, also in Baiwas.
“This was where four of our rangers were hit,” Yogyog said.
Basilan Vice Gov. Al Rasheed Sakalahul said no civilian was displaced in the clashes because residents had left the area five years ago, when the military intensified its operations against the Abu Sayyaf in the province.
“That village has been abandoned by civilians so there’s no reported displacements,” he said.
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