6 Scout Rangers wounded in clash with Abu Sayyaf in Sulu
ZAMBOANGA CITY – A fierce clash between security forces and Abu Sayyaf bandits in Patikul, Sulu on Tuesday resulted in the wounding of six Scout Rangers, the military reported Wednesday.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said at least five bandits were reportedly killed based on information from ground sources.
Sobejana said soldiers were conducting a “focused” military operation early morning Tuesday when they clashed with an Abu Sayyaf group under Radulan Sahiron in Barangay Panglahayan. The firefight lasted until about noontime, he said.
Two of the wounded soldiers had to be airlifted here and taken to a private hospital. Four others remained at the Kuta Teodolfo Bautista Trauma Hospital in Jolo, according to Sobejana.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., the commander of the Western Mindanao Command, described the positions of the clashing forces as very close at about 20 meters.
“That is why they [Scout Rangers] were able to fire at the enemy at close range. They were just very careful due to the possible presence of kidnap victims with the Abu Sayyaf,” Galvez said.
He said the military pounded the retreating bandits with howitzers and mortars.
Galvez said in the aftermath of the clash, the pursuing soldiers recovered two M16 rifles.
“The Joint Task Force Sulu continues to employ more pressure on the remaining Abu Sayyaf bandits to rescue captives and gain more enemy strongholds and armaments,” Sobejana said.