3 Abu Sayyaf bandits killed, 7 soldiers hurt in Basilan clashes
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Three Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed while seven soldiers were injured in a clash at the borders of Al Barka and Tipo-tipo in Basilan on Thursday morning, the military reported.
In a media statement, the Western Mindanao Command based here said soldiers under Joint Task Force Basilan were on an offensive when the clash took place around 6:55 a.m.
Tipo-tipo Mayor Tong Istarul told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone that as of 11 a.m., the firefight was still ongoing near Al Barka.
He assured that no civilians have been affected so far by the fighting.
Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said the soldiers were among the ground troops securing the Al Barka and Tipo-tipo road network.
The military recently deployed a large number of troops to Basilan following atrocities committed by the Abu Sayyaf there.
Hataman and other local officials have backed the massive military operation aimed at diminishing the bandit group’s capability to sow terror in the province.
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