ZAMBOANGA CITY — Eight people were killed, including three Abu Sayyaf bandits, while 33 others were wounded in heavy firefight in the hinterlands of Sulu, the military disclosed Sunday.
Col. Gerry Besana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said the firefight broke out around 11:30 a.m. Saturday in Sitio Sungkog, Barangay Kabbon Takas, Patikul, Sulu.
Besana said the firefight ensued when the troops of the Army’s 5th Scout Ranger Battalion led by Lt. Col. Marlo Jomalesa chanced upon a group of some 150 Abu Sayyaf bandits under Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan while conducting focused military operation.
Besana said the firefight lasted for about one hour and 50 minutes that resulted to the death of five soldiers and three Abu Sayyaf bandits.
He said 18 of the 33 wounded were soldiers, while the remaining 15 were Abu Sayyaf bandits.
The names of the slain and wounded soldiers were not immediately available except that they belong to the Army’s 5th Scout Ranger Battalion.
He said Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Idang Susukan was among the 15 bandits who were wounded during the clash, based on “human intelligence” report.
He said the troops are tracking down the whereabouts of the Abu Sayyaf bandits, who fled following an almost two-hour firefight.
The clash happened after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered troops to pursue the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
The President’s order came after the twin bombings at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel cathedral in Barangay Walled City, Jolo, Sulu.
The two blasts killed at least 22 people, including five soldiers, a coast guard personnel and left 101 others injured. (PNA)
Photo from Philstar