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Military claims killing 5 Abu Sayyaf members in Sulu clash

The Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command said five suspected Abu Sayyaf fighters were killed while six government troops were wounded following a clash in Patikul, Sulu on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Wesmincom said the clash between elements of the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion led by Lieutenant Colonel Marlon Jomalesa and about 30 bandits transpired in Barangay Panglahayan.

Wesmincom chief, Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez said the bandits were under the leadership of Radulan Sahiron and sub-leaders Julie Ekit, Amlon Abtahi and one Amah Asam.

Joint Task Force Sulu commander Brigadier General Cirlito Sobejana, meanwhile, said the operating unit estimated that at least five bandits were killed during the clash.

"We believe that a number of the bandits were wounded and probably could have died due to loss of blood after [Tuesday’s] encounter especially that our rangers are still pursuing them as of this report," Sobejana was quoted in the statement as saying.

"Operating unit said that they are estimating at least five killed Abus based on the bloodstains and the report of sources,” he added.

Citing the report of Jomalesa, Galvez said operating troops were able to "creep in as close as 20 meters that is why they were able to fire at the enemy at close range."

"They were just very careful due to the possible presence of kidnap victims with the Abus...Artillery and mortar fires from the rangers and reinforcing units were further delivered on the withdrawal routes of the retreating bandits," Galvez said.

Four wounded troops were taken to Kuta Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo, Sulu while two more were brought to Zamboanga City for further medical attention, Galvez said.

Troops recovered two firearms from the bandits — an Elisco M16A1 rifle and a Colt M16A1. — Marlly Rome Bondoc/RSJ, GMA News

Tags: abusayyaf, sulu