By Philippine News Agency
ZAMBOANGA CITY — The military condemned the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) for disrupting the military-led medical mission for residents of Patikul, Sulu, Saturday morning.
Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the bandits fired three rounds of 60-millimeter mortar shells while the Army’s 6th Special Forces Battalion and its partner government agencies and non-government organizations were conducting a medical mission.
Dela Vega said the incident occurred around 11:30 a.m. Saturday in Barangay Tanum, Patikul.
No one was hurt in the incident as the mortar shells exploded some 200 meters away from Tanum Elementary School, the venue of the medical outreach mission.
“We strongly condemn this terroristic act resulting to the disruption of basic services delivery to the people,” commented Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief.
“They bring nothing but destruction that greatly retards achievement of peace and development in Sulu. This is another reason why we have to unite to put end to this menace in our society,” Dela Vega added.
Col. Gerry Besana, Westmincom information officer, said the troops estimated that the mortar rounds were fired some 500 meters away east of the school and were “believed to be initiated by the Abu Sayyaf bandits in the area intend(ing) to intimidate the populace from availing the free medical services.”
Besana said the medical outreach mission continued despite the mortar shelling by the ASG bandits.
Besana said that approximately 2,000 residents from Barangays Tanum, Sandah, Patikul Higad, and Kadday Mapallam have benefitted from the medial outreach mission.
He said the Joint Task Forces Sulu have deployed troops to track down the ASG bandits behind the mortar shelling.