Residents fled homes, 2 marines wounded in Sulu offensive

Published March 16, 2019, 9:15 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Nonoy Lacson

ZAMBOANGA CIY (March 16, 2019) –  Two members of the Philippine Marines were wounded and about 500 residents reportedly fled their homes after the military pounded mortar fires at an island in Banguingui, Sulu where Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) gunmen are holding two Malaysian nationals in captivity.

Tanks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (MArk Balmores|Manila Bulletin)
Tanks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Mark Balmores|Manila Bulletin)

A military report reaching here said the surgical military operations started about 6:40 pm, Friday at Sitio Kabahayan, Barangay  Bakkan, Banguingui, Sulu against an undetermined number of ASG led by ASG Sub-Leader  Salip Mura.

The encounter has resulted in the wounding of Marine soldiers Corporal Syruss V Valenzuela and Private Jude Louiss B Nabalan and the evacuation of about 500 people to an adjacent island.

The military said they pound mortar fires to the position of the bandits to cover the soldiers who are trying to rescue two Malaysian nationals being kept by the rogue group in the forested areas of the island.

According to the military, they have cordoned the island to prevent the bandits from eluding the military or receiving an augmentation of force coming from another group of ASG operatives in Sulu province.

The military said one squad of marines led by Valenzuela positioned themselves near a mosque at  Simosah Island, Sulu where they encountered an undetermined number of ASG gunmen.

The military believed that several ASG were also wounded or killed during the encounter with the soldiers.