By Francis Wakefield
An Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorist was killed while four others were wounded when another clash erupted between government troops and the local terrorist group in Sulu Tuesday.
A report from the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom), disclosed that Army troopers were on focused military operation when they encountered members of the Abu Sayyaf in Barangay Sandah, Patikul at about 3:30 p.m..
The militants are said to be under the command of ASG leader Mundi Sawadjaan.
The encounter lasted for about five minutes. No one was hurt on the side of the government.
Troops who conducted clearing operation later recovered backpacks belonging to ASG members who managed to escape and fled the scene.
As this developed, additional troops were sent to the area to conduct pursuit operations against the retreating enemy. Possible withdrawal routes were also blocked by soldiers.
Earlier, Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Arnel B. Dela Vega, condemned the attack staged by members of the Abu Sayyaf in a community in Patikul, Sulu over the weekend.
According to the military, the attack staged by armed men belonging to the Abu Sayyaf in Barangay Igasan, Patikul, Sulu at about 5:35 p.m. Saturday, (May 25), resulted in the death of two children who lost their lives when they were fired upon by the group.
The two children who died were later identified as Saiful Abdun, 1 and Jahid Usab, 12.
“We strongly condemn the barbaric act of the Abu Sayyaf. There is no place for such barbarism in our region,” Dela Vega said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families of the innocent children,” he added.
According to Dela Vega, a platoon of soldiers belonging to the 6th Special Forces Battalion who were conducting Community Support Program (CSP) activities immediately responded to the scene, sparking a firefight which lasted for about 30 minutes.
A total of six Abu Sayyaf terrorists were killed by the troops with seven others wounded based on eyewitness account.
On the other hand, five soldiers and three civilians were wounded and are currently recuperating at Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital.
Amid the exchange of fires, three children identified as Alrazel Asain Tiblan; Habijar Asain Tiblan, 11; and J.B. Asain Tiblan, 8; were successfully rescued by the operating troops.