ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/16 April) – Fighting broke out early Saturday between soldiers and Abu Sayyaf bandits, who were still holding captive a Filipino-Chinese businessman, in Basilan province that resulted in the death of two suspected bandits.
Three soldiers from the Army’s 4th Scout Ranger Battalion were also wounded and airlifted to a military hospital in this city.
Col. Alex Macario, Special Operations Task Force-Basilan (SOTF-B), said the firefight broke out around 6:15 a.m. Saturday in Sitio Buug, Barangay Macalang, Al-Barka town.
Macario said the troops were on combat operations when they spotted the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Nurhassan Jamiri, whose group is behind the kidnapping of Filipino-Chinese businessman Largio Tam Delos Santos.
Delos Santos, 60, was kidnapped last December 16 from his resort in Barangay Lanote, Isabela City, capital of Basilan.
Delos Santos owns the Farmland Resort and runs a restaurant and catering business in Isabela City.
Macario said the remains of the two slain bandits were turned over to the officials of Macalang for proper disposition.
He said the troops recovered three M-16 Armalite rifles, an M-14 rifle and an M-203 grenade launcher, which were abandoned by the bandits. (MindaNews)