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Suspected Abu Sayyaf fighter killed in Basilan clash, another one wounded -military

A suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf group was killed during an encounter with government forces in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan last May 8.

According to Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) spokesman Major Arvin Encinas on Wednesday, soldiers from the 18th Infantry Battalion were conducting strike operation when they had a three-minute encounter with more or less four Abu Sayyaf members in Bohe Selangan in Barangay Baguindan.

While doing clearing operations, government forces recovered the body of one local terrorist identified as Pau Geh.

They also recovered a fragmentary grenade, three rounds of 40mm grenade launcher ammunition, one Harris handheld radio, four mobile phones, one power bank, two backpacks, a jungle hammock, food items, and some personal belongings in the clash site.

"As we perform our roles as frontliners against the COVID-19 pandemic, 18IB remains committed in pursuing peace and security throughout its area of operations," 18th IB commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Abutin said in a press release.

"We will continue to conduct focused military operations against the already dwindling ranks of ASG in Basilan who continue to evade the government forces in small groups," he added.

The military also said another member of the group, identified as Adzuan "Kawwang" Kajing, was seriously wounded in the encounter.

Authorities said Kajing was involved in an explosion incident in Lamitan City on July 31, 2018. He also had a standing warrant of arrest for multiple frustrated murder issued by the Judicial Region Branch 2, in Isabela town.

According to WestMinCom, no casualties were reported from the government side.

WestMinCom chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana hailed the troops for this development in the efforts against the local terrorist group.

"While our soldiers brave the danger brought about by the coronavirus, they also continue to risk their lives fighting for peace and security in their area of operations," Sobejana said.

"Let us continue to pray for their safety and protection as they continue to spare us from the rudeness of the different threat groups," he added. --Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News