A series of attacks by the military against the Abu Sayyaf (ASG) over the holidays led to an ambush of a military truck which killed a soldier last Tuesday, January 25, in Barangay Tugas, Patikul Municipality, Sulu.
A social media post by the Philippine Army’s 11th Infantry Division identified the fatality as Pvt. Joefrazen J. Tawasil, 25, a member of the 45th Infantry Battalion.
Tawasil was riding the truck with other soldiers when they were ambushed by suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels led by ASG subleader Ellam Nasirin.
Intel reports state that Nasirin launched the attack in retaliation to military operations by the Armed Forces which wounded several Abu Sayyaf bandits during the holiday season.
Military troops are conducting pursuit operations against Nasirin.
Tawasil, a resident of Indanan Municipality, has a brother in the military. He underwent basic military training in 2021.
Sulu residents condemned the attack, describing it as anti-Tausug and anti-Muslim.
“Hindi sundalo, kundi Tausug ang mas talo sa ganitong klaseng pagkakataon. Namatayan tayo ng kapatid na Muslim. Para bang pilit na sinisira ng ASG ang pagpupursige ng mga Tausug at ng gobyerno na ibangon ang aming probinsiya,” said Barangay Tugas Chairperson Saujar S. Bara.