By Philippine News Agency
ZAMBOANGA CITY — Troops have clashed anew with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits in Sulu province on Thursday, resulting in the death of a soldier and the wounding of three others.
Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the firefight broke out around 11:30 a.m. in Barangay Igasan, Patikul, Sulu, when the troops chanced upon a group of ASG bandits while on combat operation.
Dela Vega said the firefight lasted for about 20 minutes, after which the ASG bandits withdrew to different directions.
“As we speak, military troops are in pursuit of the evading militants. Ground units are also prepositioned to deliver fire support and block withdrawal routes of the militants,” dela Vega said on Thursday afternoon.
The identities of the slain and three injured soldiers were not made known, except that they belong to the Army’s 6th Special Forces Battalion.
Dela Vega said that the troops managed to extract the wounded soldiers from the area and transported them to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Hospital in Barangay Bus-bus, Jolo, Sulu.
He said immediate assistance will be provided to the families of the dead and wounded soldiers.
“Our tactical and intelligence operations targeting the neutralization of the militants and the penetration of the enemy’s strategic strongholds will be bolstered,” the Army official added.
“We will relentlessly pursue Abu Sayyaf fighters, weaken their will to fight, and crush groups propagating terrorism in Mindanao,” he said.