5 Sayyaf men, soldier killed in 2 Sulu clashes

ZAMBOANGA CITY–Six people, five of whom were Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members, were killed while two others were wounded in two separate clashes in the hinterlands of Sulu, military officials said Friday.

Joint Task Force Sulu commander, Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, said the first clash occurred at the boundary of barangays Tanum and Liang, Patikul town midnight Wednesday.

Pabayo said troops of the Army’s 45th Infantry Battalion were conducting a military operation when they clashed with about 20 ASG members led by sub-leader Almujer Yaddah.

The firefight resulted in the death of four ASG members and the wounding of five others, according to intelligence information.

Pabayo said a soldier also died while two others were wounded, and were immediately taken to the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Barangay Bus-Bus, Jolo.

The injured soldiers were airlifted to the Camp Navarro General Hospital (CNGH) on Thursday morning for further medication. The hospital is the medical facility of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) located in Camp Navarro that also houses the Westmincom headquarters in this city.

Pabayo said the second clash happened in Barangay Tabu-Bato, Maimbung municipality at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday between the troops of the Army’s 1st Scout Ranger Battalion and some 20 ASG members led by sub-leader Almadjan Sahidjuan, alias Apoh Mike.

He said the remains of the ASG member killed during the clash were recovered by the troops, along with an M-16 Armalite rifle.

“My salute to our fallen soldier and my prayers for the other two who are currently recuperating at CNGH,” Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, Westmincom chief said.

“With support from the local government and the populace, the sickening problem of terrorism will soon be put to an end. The intensification of the military operations is buoyed by the renewed vigor of those who are against violent extremism,” he added. Teofilo Garcia, Jr/PNA-northboundasia.com