Government forces on Friday bombarded a lair of the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul town in Sulu where the mastermind of the January 27 twin bombing attacks in a Jolo cathedral was reportedly holed up along with some 200 other terrorists.
"The military assault early this morning was triggered by the monitored and confirmed consolidation of 200 terrorists in the hinterland of Patikul, Sulu," said Lieuteant Colonel Gerald Monfort, Joint Task Force Sulu spokesman.
"The JTF Sulu has been on-track of said ASG activity since the previous days until the launching of the operations."
Ground assault followed the bombardment but no casualties have been reported as of Friday afternoon as the military has yet to conduct clearing operations.
"Selective aerial bombardment is still ongoing as of this report as the combined ground forces of the AFP are maneuvering for the final assault," Monfort said.
Monfort said Abu Sayyaf leaders Radulan Sahiron and Hajan Sawadjaan were reported to be in the area "planning to launch terror acts" with other members of the terrorist group.
Authorities have pointed to Sawadjaan as the mastermind in the suicide bombings at the Our Lady of Mt Carmel Cathedral in Jolo town that left 23 people, including that Indonesian couple that allegedly carried out the bombings, dead and over a hundred others injured. —KBK, GMA News