ZAMBOANGA CITY — Troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu are tracking down the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan as fresh clash broke out in the province of Sulu, an official disclosed Saturday.
Maj. Arvin John Encinas, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesperson, said four soldiers were killed while 17 others wounded in the firefight that broke out around 8:25 a.m. Friday in Sitio Lagaron, Barangay Kan-Ague, Patikul, Sulu.
Encinas said the firefight ensued when the troops encountered around 40 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits led by Sawadjaan while in combat operation in the area.
He said two of the ASG bandits were killed based on the report the troops received from the villagers.
He said the firefight lasted for about 40 minutes after which the ASG bandits fled toward the southeast direction.
Encinas did not release the identities of the slain and wounded soldiers except to say they belong to the Army’s 6th Special Forces Battalion.
Military operations continue in the province of Sulu to rescue the remaining hostages in the hands of the ASG bandits.
The Sulu-based ASG bandits are still holding captives five Indonesian fishermen they seized off the waters of Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia on January 17. Teofilo Garcia, Jr /PNA – northboundasia.com