ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/09 April) – Eight suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and two soldiers died in a two-hour firefight Thursday in the province of Sulu, a military official disclosed.
Twenty-five were also wounded in the firefight that broke out around 10:35 a.m. at Sitio Kan-Amat, Barangay Gata, Talipao municipality, according to Capt. Maria Rowena Muyuela, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer. Fifteen of the wounded are soldiers while the rest are ASG members, she added, quoting intelligence information the troops on the ground gathered.
Muyuela said the troops were on security operations when they clashed with around 200 Abu Sayyaf rebels led by one-armed bandit leader Radulan Sahiron.
She said the rebels scampered to different directions as two MG-520 rocket-firing helicopters provided air support to the ground troops and pounded the bandits with rockets and machine guns.
Muyuela said that combined Marine and Army troopers, as well as policemen, established blocking positions and checkpoints to possible extrication points of the ASG.
She did not release the identities of the 2 slain and 15 wounded soldiers except to say they belong to the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion.
The wounded soldiers were airlifted to the military hospital at Camp Bautista in Jolo, Sulu, Muyuela said.