ZAMBOANGA CITY — An Abu Sayyaf bandit and two government militia were killed in a firefight in the hinterlands of Basilan province, a military official disclosed Saturday.
Col. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, said the firefight ensued shortly before 11 a.m. Friday in Sitio Bohe Kirey, Barangay Dugaa, Tuburan municipality.
Uy said troops backed by Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) members were on security patrol when they clashed with around 20 Abu Sayyaf bandits.
He said the firefight lasted for about 20 minutes that resulted to the death of an Abu Sayyaf follower identified as Hassan Apino and two BPAT members, whose identities were not immediately available.
He said the rest of the bandits fled to different directions and are being pursued by the troops.
He said the bandit group that figured in the firefight were involved in November 10, 2016 hijacking of the Vietnamese Bulk Carrier, M/V Royal 16, in the Basilan water.
The Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf bandits are still holding captive five Vietnamese sailors, who were among the six victims seized during the November 10, 2016 hijacking.
One of the six Vietnamese sailors escaped last month at the height of military air strike.
The bulk carrier was traveling to Davao City when the Abu Sayyaf bandits, aboard on a speed boat, hijacked the vessel. Teofilo Garcia Jr./PNA-northboundasia.com