By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY – A Dutch bird watcher, who has been held captive by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) since 2012, and the wife of ASG leader Radulan Sahiron were killed in a 90-minute encounter between government forces and the bandit group in Patikul, Sulu Friday morning.
The firefight resulted in the death of Dutch national Ewold Horn, a bird spotter from Groningen, The Netherlands, who was abducted by the ASG in 2012.
Also slain was Mingayan Sahiron, second wife of ASG leader Radulan Sahiron.
Groningen, is the capital city of the Eponymous province in the Netherlands, the largest city in the north of the Netherlands.
The bodies of Horn and Mingayan were recovered by the pursuing troops at the encounter side during a hot pursuit and clearing operations.
Horn was abducted along with fellow birdwatcher Lorenzo Vinciguerre in Panglima Sugala town, Tawi-Tawi. Vinciguerre, from Switzerland, was rescued by the military in Patikul, Sulu in December 2014.
The military in Sulu said six ASG gunmen were also killed, and about 12 others wounded in the encounter.
Eight soldiers were reported to have been wounded, two from gunshots and six with shrapnel wounds.
A military report reaching here Friday indicated that soldiers from the 32 Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army figured in a clash with an estimated 30 fully-armed members of the ASG at Sitio Bud Sub-Sub, Barangay Pansul in Patikul, Sulu at about 7:31 am. It was not known if Radulan was with the group during the encounter with the 32nd IB soldiers in the forested areas of Sitio Bud Sub-Sub, Barangay Pansul in Patikul, Sulu.
The military also deployed two MG-520 helicopters to help ground troops in their fight against the ASG in the area, while two UH1H helicopters were directed to hover around the encounter side and ferry wounded soldiers to Camp General Teodulfo Bautista hospital for immediate treatment of wounds.
The military also dispatched K9 dogs to help them locate the fleeing ASG gunmen, according to a military report.
The military said hot pursuit operations in Patikul continued against the fleeing ASG gunmen Friday.