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Death toll now 19 in Basilan clashes – military

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The death toll from the clashes between government soldiers and Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sumisip, Basilan has risen to 19, the military said on Friday.

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Army’s First Infantry Division spokesman Captain Albert Caber said 10 soldiers were confirmed killed from Thursday’s long day clashes in Sumisip Basilan, correcting his earlier report.

Caber earlier said that eight were killed during the morning clashes in Upper Cabengbeng village, while four were killed in the afternoon ambush in Mebak village. However, two from the four have not yet been identified, bringing the official count of military fatalities to 10.

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Meanwhile, Western Mindanao Command spokesman Randolph Cabangbang said nine Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed in the clashes.

Cabangbang identified the slain bandits as Ustadz Hassan Asnawi, Jumaidi Asnawi (son of Hassan), Nurham Asnawi, Juhair Aliman, Kaobut Mastul, Hudjata Marain, Meloy Patpi, Aka Balong, and one unidentified from Tumahubong.

He said 16 soldiers and over a dozen bandits were wounded in the clashes, which started Thursday morning in the villages of Tumahubong and Upper Cabengbeng, Cabangbang said.

Col. Ramon Yogyog, commander of Task Force Basilan, said the military intensified its action against the bandit group after gunmen occupied two rubber plantations.

Originally posted: 11:15 am | Friday, July 27th, 2012

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, armed conflicts, Basilam, Basilan, Military, Philippines, Violence
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