Six suspected Abu Sayyaf members and an Army soldier were killed following separate clashes in Sulu, the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command said Thursday.
In a statement, the AFP Wesmincom said elements of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion conducted strike operations in Barangay Kuppong in Indanan around 4:30 a.m. after receiving information that Abu Sayyaf terrorists were in the area.
The subsequent clash lasted for two minutes, leaving three terrorists dead. One of the slain Abu Sayyaf men was identified as Pakan Sakam Sappara a.k.a. Pangit.
The operating troops recovered a .45 caliber pistol with four rounds of ammunition.
No casualties were reported on the government security forces' side.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Westmincom said that at 1:55 p.m., elements of the 32nd Infantry Battalion engaged 60 Abu Sayyaf fighters at Sitio Kan Apo Aluk in Barangay Panglayahan in Patikul town.
The terrorists were reportedly followers of Abu Sayyaf sub leader Hajan Sawadjaan.
The military statement said that based on "human intelligence" at 11:24 a.m. Thursday, three bandits were reportedly killed. The number of wounded Abu Sayyaf men was still being determined, the statement added.
On the other hand, 11 other troops were wounded aside from the lone fatality. Two of the wounded troops were scheduled to be brought to Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City for treatment.
Reinforcements were deployed to go after the fleeing bandits as well as block their possible withdrawal routes, the Wesmincom said.
“We recognize the commitment of our troops to thwart lawlessness, to the
point of sacrificing even their lives. This incident gives us more resolve to further
intensify our operations against the bandits,” Lieutenant General Dela Vega,
Wesmincom chief, was quoted in the statement as saying. — with Jessica Bartolome/RSJ, GMA News