5 ASG terrorists killed in Sulu clashes with Scout Rangers

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Five members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed, while several others, including two soldiers, were wounded in an encounter between the rebel group and military in three separate locations in Patikul, Sulu.

Maj. Gen. Corelito Vinluan, 11th Division commander, said soldiers from the First Brigade encountered the terrorists in three different locations -- Sitio Libug Wani, Barangay Bakung, Sitio  Lumbaan, Barangay  Buhanginan and Sitio Bakud Uwak, Barangay Tanum in Patikul, Sulu, late Monday afternoon.

The terrorists were believed to be led by ASG leaders Radulan Sahiron and Hadjan Sawadjaan.

Vinluan identified the wounded soldiers as Army Staff Sargent Ramonito Q Diapolet  and Corporal Maynard D Cabote.

According to Vinluan, the military was able to recover the bodies of the five slain terrorists after the encounter. They have yet to identify them.

He added that the soldiers also saw blood stains at the encounter sites, which bolstered their suspicion that many of their enemies were wounded in the series of gun battles.

The first encounter on Monday took place at 3:55 p.m., and lasted for 30 minutes when soldiers of the Ninth Scout  Ranger Company (SRC), led by Lt.  Chrismar M Lapinig,  encountered about 40 ASG terrorists, led by Sahiron and Sawadjaan, in Sitio Libug Wani, Barangay Bakung, Patikul, Sulu.

Then at around 4:40 p.m., another encounter involving about 30 ASG terrorists raged on for 30 minutes at Sitio  Lumbaan, Barangay Buhanginan, Patikul.

This was followed by another encounter by soldiers from the Eighth SRC under Lt. Nathaniel B. Gallon with 40 other ASG terrorists at 5:06 p.m. in Sitio Bakud Uwak, Barangay Tanum.

Vinluan said the enemy retreated to different directions in all three encounters.

Enemy positions were likewise bombarded with 82mm mortar rounds, with two MG helicopters providing aerial support to the ground troops, Vinluan reported.

He added that all operating troops in Patikul, and in adjacent towns have been placed on full alert following the encounters.