By Bonita Ermac
Army troopers conducting focused military operations encountered around 20 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) gunmen on the boundary of Barangay Tanun and Liang, Patikul Sulu after midnight Thursday, resulting in the death of four ASG members and a soldier.
The Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu reported that combatant from the army’s 45th Infantry Battalion (45IB), led by a Lieutenant Colonel Salvador, encountered the group of ASG sub-leader Almujer Yaddah.
The firefight resulted in the killing of four Abu Sayyaf gunmen and the wounding of four more on the enemy side.
Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo, JTF Sulu commander, confirmed that one soldier was killed and two more troopers were wounded in the same encounter.
“The wounded soldiers were airlifted to Camp Navarro General Hospital early this morning for further medication,” Pabayo said.
Meanwhile, while conducting pursuit operations, elements of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion led by Major Grezula engaged in an armed confrontation with more or less 20 ASG members under Almadjan Sahidjuan, alias “Apoh Mike,” in Barangay Tabu-Bato, Maimbung, Sulu at 9:30 a.m. today.
Heavy skirmishes ensued, resulting in the killing of one ASG member, based on the body. One M16 rifle was also collected at the scene of the clash.
“My salute to our fallen soldier and my prayers for the other two who are currently recuperating at CNGH,” said Lieutenant General Arnel B. dela Vega, commander Western Mindanao Command. “With the support from the local government and the populace, the sickening problem of terrorism will soon be put to an end.”