By Nonoy E. Lacson and Francis T. Wakefield
Zamboanga City – Five members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed while several others were believed wounded including six soldiers during an encounter Tuesday with the military in the forested areas of Patikul town in Sulu.
Joint Task Force Sulu (JTF-Sulu) Commander Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said troops evacuated four wounded soldiers to Kuta Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo, Sulu, while two more were airlifted to Zamboanga City for further medical attention.
“Our soldiers are being taken cared of by the best medical hospitals in Zamboanga. We have already informed their families so that they can see their loved ones,” Sobejana said.
“Operating unit said that they are estimating at least five killed Abus based on the bloodstains and the report of sources,” Sobejana said.
Adding, “We believe that a number of the bandits were also wounded and might have died due to loss of blood after Tuesday’s encounter. Our rangers are still pursuing them as of this report.”
Sobejana also reported that the military recovered an Elisco M16A1 rifle and a Colt M16A1 rifle of the bandits in Tuesday’s clash that ensued in Barangay Panglahayan, Patikul, Sulu at 2:31 p.m.
In a focused military operation, troops of the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion led by Lt. Col. Marlon S. Jomalesa, encountered 30 ASG members led by ASG leader Radulan Sahiron and sub-leaders Julie Ekit, Amlon Abtahi, and a certain Amah Asam.
Sobejana said the military were able to creep in as close as 20 meters allowing them to fire at the ASG at close range. They were just very careful due to the possible presence of kidnap victims with the ASG.
“Artillery and mortar fires from the rangers and reinforcing units were further delivered on the withdrawal routes of the retreating bandits,” Sobejana said.
Elements of the 32nd Infantry Battalion augmented and provided necessary support to the engaged troops.
“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,” said Sobejana.
“Artillery and mortar fires from the rangers and reinforcing units were further delivered on the withdrawal routes of the retreating bandits,” he added.
“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,” said Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu.
From January to March 14, 2018, military troops gained 54 firearms of the Abu Sayyaf (14 in Basilan, 38 in Sulu, and two in Tawi-Tawi).
Twenty-four firearms were surrendered by the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu while 14 were recovered by the Joint Task Force Sulu in their combat operations.
Tags: 5 ASG killed 6 Scout Rangers wounded in Sulu clash, 5th Scout Ranger Battalion, Abu Sayyaf, Abu Sayyaf Group, Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force, Joint Task Force Sulu, Kuta Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital, M16A1 rifle, wounded soldiers