By Francis Wakefield
A government soldier was killed while 10 others were wounded following an encounter with some 60 members of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Patikul, Sulu, on Tuesday, the military disclosed on Thursday.
Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said operating troops of the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion led by Lieutenant Colonel Ronaldo Mateo encountered 60 Abu Sayyaf Group members at Sitio Kan Apo Aluk, Barangay Panglayahan, Patikul, Sulu at 1:55 p.m..
Pabayo said the Abu Sayyaf terrorist were identified as followers of ASG sub leader Hajan Sawadjaan.
It was learned that the troops were scouring the area when they engaged the Abu Sayyaf in a firefight that lasted for two hours. This resulted in the death of a soldier and wounding of 10 others.
Casualties on the enemy side is yet to be determined.
“We believe that a number of bandits were wounded and probably could have died due to loss of blood after Tuesday’s encounter,” Pabayo said.
“Reinforcements were deployed to block the possible withdrawal of the enemy. Troops continue to scour the area,” he added.
Lieutenant General Dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said the encounter against the Abu Sayyaf gives them more resolve to further intensify their operations against the bandits.