ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/26 July) – Five people, one of them a suspected Abu Sayyaf leader, were killed while eight others were wounded in a 30-minute firefight in Basilan province, the military reported Saturday.
Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commander of the Basilan-based 104th Infantry Brigade, said the firefight erupted around 1 p.m. Thursday in Barangay Sungkayot, Ukaya Pukan.
Galvez said the troops were tracking down the location of the lair of suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits when the clash broke out.
He said three of the slain bandits were identified as Abu Sayyaf mid-level leader Sulaiman Ajanti alias Ulay and two of his followers namely, Botqong Aliman and Madie Umangkat.
Galvez did not release the identities of the two other fatalities except to say that they were militiamen.
He said one of the eight people wounded is also a militiaman while the seven others were bandits who were dragged by their comrades when they fled.
Brigade Public Affairs Officer 1Lt. Sally Cristine Magno said Ajanti’s group was responsible for the ambushes of hapless civilians in Sumisip town in 2011 and 2012 which killed 29 people and wounded 59 others.
Magno said the victims were workers of Tumahubong Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development Cooperative in Tumahubong, Sumisip.
She added that Ajanti’s group also kidnapped Department of Social Welfare and Development worker Jennelyn Luna Enpera in Ungkaya Pukan in 2013 and US nationals Gerfa Yeats Lunsmann, her son, Kevin, and nephew, Romnick Jakaria in 2011 in an island barangay of this city.
“Surely, the victims will be happy that finally justice had been served and the death of (Sulaiman Ajanti) Ulay will remind the remaining notorious ASGs that evil will not prevail,” Magno said.
“We extend our sincerest sympathies to the families and friends of those militiamen who were killed. Rest assured that we will extend necessary assistance to the bereaved families and wounded militiamen,” Galvez said.
He said they will intensify the offensive after the Ramadan “so as not to disrupt the remaining solemn days before Eid’l Ftr.” (MindaNews)