By Francis Wakefield
The military has confirmed that 10 Abu Sayyaf members died and six were wounded in the clash with troops on Saturday, December 10 in Patikul, Sulu.
“Based on the information as confirmed by [intelligence] units on the ground and validated by civilians on the ground, a total of 10 Abu Sayyaf fighters were killed while six others were hurt as a result of the clash,” said Army Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman of the AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).
The military earlier said that three government troops were killed while 21 others were wounded in the encounter.
Tan said the firefight with about 150 Abu Sayyaf members occurred at around 10:00 a.m. while troops of the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion under the Joint Task Force Sulu were conducting focused military operations in in Bud Taming at Barangay Kabbon Takas.
The armed confrontation lasted for an hour and 45 minutes before the Abu Sayyaf withdrew.
The group, Tan said, were led by top leader Radullan Sahiron and sub-leaders Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, Yasser Igasan and Mujer Yadah.
The military is now hunting down the terrorists as part of its intense crackdown that began in July.
Tan said since the intensified military operations was launched, a total of 105 bandits have been killed with 14 bandits apprehended.
Saturday’s Sulu encounter occurred three days after three ASG bandits with alleged kidnapping plans were killed in a shootout with security forces in Lahad Datu in Sabah, Malaysia.