(UPDATE) 13 Abu Sayyaf men, 2 soldiers killed; 10 gov’t troops hurt in Basilan clash
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Thirteen Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in a firefight in Al Barka, Basilan, at 5 p.m., Tuesday, while 10 other soldiers were injured, Maj. Filemon Tan, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said.
Tuesday’s encounter was the third day of fighting between the bandit group and government troops composed of the Scout Rangers and the Philippine Marines.
“It has been ongoing for three day. It was on Tuesday that the major skirmishes happened,” the military official said of the encounter that began at 5 a.m. Tuesday
Tan said combined elements of the 104th Army Brigade, the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion, 4th Special Forces Battalion, Marine Special Operations Group and the 12th Light Armor Cavalry, were conducting “focused operation” against a suspected Abu Sayyaf encampment in Barangay Macalang when they clashed with a still undetermined number of bandits.
“It was an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf Group. It is a focused military operation. Prior to this, there was an intelligence operation that led to the identification of the ASG lair,” Tan said.
Tan said the identities of the slain soldiers and those wounded in the encounter could not be released yet “due to operational security.”
The military withholds information on its casualties until after their next of kin have been notified.
The military did not recover any bodies of the Abu Sayyaf men while the 10 injured soldiers have been undergoing medical treatment. SFM
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