Western Mindanao troops engage Abu Sayaff in hour-long battle; 11 soldiers killed, 14 others injured
Eleven soldiers killed, 14 others injured in clash with Abu Sayaff
MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command reported the death of 11 soldiers in an encounter with elements of the Abu Sayaff in Danag village in Patikul, Sulu in southern Philippines.
Lt. General Cirilito Sobejana, AFP Western Mindanao Command chief, said 14 other soldiers were injured in the firefight which lasted for an hour from 3:05 P.M., Friday.
He said the soldiers from Delta Company of the 21st Infantry Battalion encountered about 40 heavily armed Abu Sayaff members.
“We believe there were casualties from the Abu Sayaff during the encounter,” Lt. General Sobejana said.
The fatalities identities were withheld pending notification of their nearest of kin. Military doctors were immediately dispatched to the area to attend to the injured soldiers.
The AFP Western Mindanao Command’s Joint Task Force will continue their security operations as they also implement the strict enforcement of the community quarantine in Mindanao.
The Abu Sayaff is a known kidnap-for-ransom group and considered Islamic Fundamentalists. Since its organization in 1989, it has been involved in bombings and kidnappings of Filipinos and foreigners, including the kidnapping of tourists from Sipadan in Malaysia in 2000. (Melo M. Acuña)
AFP Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. General Cirilito Sobejana (left) during Tapatan sa Aristocrat with Security expert Prof. Rommel Banlaoi. (Melo Acuna Photo)