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1 hurt as soldiers battle bandits in Sumisip, Basilan

/ 05:20 PM July 16, 2012

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MANILA, Philippines – Army soldiers clashed with lawless groups in Sumisip town, Basilan, Sunday morning, injuring a civilian caught in the crossfire, the military said Monday.

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Reports from 104th Brigade of the Philippine Army said that a team of soldiers from the 20th Special Forces Company was dispatched to secure the vicinity of Sitio Along-along, Upper Cabengbeng, the Philippine Army said in a statement.

The deployment of security forces was prompted by the request of Tumahubong parish priest Rev. Father Julius Boado who was scheduled to travel to Isabela City Sunday.

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As the soldiers patrolled the bushes near the roadside, they were fired upon by undetermined number of heavily armed bandits who were positioned on a high ground overlooking the road, the Army said.

The soldiers engaged the bandits in a 10-minute running gun battle. The rebels fled with their casualties as indicated by the bloodstains along the escape route.

A resident in the area identified as Totong Alih, was slightly injured on his left thigh. He was given first-aid treatment by combat medics of the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion who reinforced the soldiers.

Colonel Arthur Ang, the Commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade, advised the priest to postpone his scheduled trip as more troops were deployed to track down the bandits.

The bandits were also tagged in the ambush that killed six people and injured 22 others in Sumisip town last week.

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