ZAMBOANGA CITY–Eight soldiers were wounded in an accidental explosion involving an improvised explosive device (IED) they recovered following a clash with Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu, the military reported.
Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, disclosed that the explosion occurred while troops were conducting a clearing operation following a 30-minute clash with Abu Sayyaf bandits on Saturday in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul town.
Pabayo said the wounded troops belong to the Army’s 1st Scout Ranger Battalion and are currently recuperating at the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Barangay Busbus, Jolo, Sulu.
The IED that accidentally exploded were among the war materiel the troops recovered following the clash, which occurred around 2:40 a.m. Saturday, when soldiers encountered around 40 Abu Sayyaf bandits led by sub-leaders Almujer Yaddah, Sonny Boy Sajirin and Ellam Hasirin in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul.
The troops managed to outmaneuver and force the bandits to scamper to different directions after a 30-minute firefight, he said.
“We have intensified our operations to pursue the fleeing bandits to prevent them from committing atrocities against the people,” Pabayo said, adding that the bandits are believed to have suffered casualties.
Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said the troops will continue to exhaust all means to contain the Abu Sayyaf and limit their movement.
“We are continuously intensifying the conduct of focused military operations, in coordination with the local government and the people of Sulu, to neutralize the terrorist group,” dela Vega added. Teofilo Garcia, Jr/PNA-northboundasia.com