8 Abus, Army soldier killed in Sulu clash

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Eight Abu Sayyaf gunmen and one government soldier were killed as government troops and Abu Sayyaf bandits clashed anew in Sulu on Wednesday.

Maj. Filemon Tan, Jr., spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said the fresh clash took place around 4 p.m.in Sitio Sangay in Barangay Buhanginan in Patikul town amid the continuing military operation against the bandit group.

“The group of Scout Rangers hit about a hundred armed bandits under the group of Hajan Sawadjaan,” Tan said.

He initially reported that four soldiers were killed but later said only one soldier had actually been slain.

He said four others soldiers were injured while the Abu Sayyaf had eight of its gunmen killed and seven wounded.

Wednesday’s clash was the latest encounter involving soldiers and Abu Sayyaf bandits this month as the military intensified its operation against the group in Sulu.

On Monday, two Marine soldiers were killed when heavily armed Abu Sayyaf bandits stormed a military detachment in Talipao town in an apparent retaliatory attack against government forces, after the bandit group suffered casualties during clashes last week.

On December 22, five Abu Sayyaf gunmen were killed in Patikul town.

“This is a continuing operation aimed at the defeat of the Abu Sayyaf and also to safely rescue all their kidnap victims,” Maj. Gen. Mayoralgo dela Cruz, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said.