ZAMBOANGA CITY – Three Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists were killed, while a junior officer and a soldier were wounded, in a 30-minute encounter between the two sides at dawn Wednesday, September 9, in R. T. Lim town in Zamboanga Sibugay.
Armed Force of the Philippines- Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) Commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. identified the wounded junior officer as Army Lt. Jestoni Labarosa, and the soldier as a certain Private Portesano.
The military also recovered the bodies of three unidentified ASG fighters, and recovered an M14, R4, and M16 rifles, with some ammunition and magazines, inside the house of a certain Sariol.
According to Vinluan, elements of the 44th Infantry Battalion chanced upon some 30 followers of Basilan-based ASG leader Furuji Indama at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday at the coastal area of Purok Licono, Barangay President Roxas in R.T. Lim town.
Vinluan said elements of the 44th IB received information that Indama, together with his band of 30 gunmen, was sighted near the coast of the village on board three motorized pump boats.
Three teams of soldiers from the 44th IB immediately proceeded to the area, and a firefight immediately ensued with the terrorist at about 2:10 a.m. that initially resulted in the wounding of Labarosa and Portesano.
The firefight lasted for 30 minutes before the ASG bandits withdrew toward the high seas while leaving their dead comrades behind.
Policemen, led by Capt. Carlito C. Requilme, also proceed to the area and assisted the military forces in their fight against the ASG terrorists.
The wounded soldiers were immediately brought to the nearest hospital in the town pending their transfer to a military hospital inside the AFP-WestMinCom in this city.
Unconfirmed reports reaching here said the band of ASG led by Indama was planning to kidnap a prominent trader in the town at dawn Wednesday.
Police and military authorities are now conducting hot pursuit operations against the terrorists.