ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/11 September) – Three suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed while a soldier was wounded in a firefight in the island province of Basilan Sunday morning, the military said.
Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) spokesman, said the clash broke around 8:30 a.m. in Barangay Etub-Etub in the municipality of Sumisip.
Cabangbang said the firefight ensued while the troops from the Army’s 4th Scout Ranger Battalion encountered around 20 bandits led by Abdulbaki Ismanul alias Commander Sahili and Nurrodin Madalam alias Commander Not.
The firefight lasted about 30 minutes after which the Abu Sayyaf bandits fled towards the coastal area where they boarded a motorized banca towards Saluping Island in the municipality of Tabuan Lasa, also in Basilan.
Cabangbang said the troops have recovered the remains of three unidentified slain followers of Ismanul and Madalam and two high-powered firearms that were abandoned by the bandit group. The were turned over to the local government officials for identification and burial.
He did not identify the wounded soldier except in saying that he belongs to the 12th Scout Ranger Company of the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion.
The group of Ismanul and Madalam are the ones providing logistical support to the Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan, Cabangbang said.
Ismanul and Madalam also face a string of criminal cases before the court in Basilan, Cabangbang added.
The clash took place two days after the troops from the Special Operations Task Force-Basilan (SOTF-B) arrested an Abu Sayyaf bandit in Lamitan City also in Basilan.
SOTF-B commander Col. Alexander Macario said that Jal Idris alias Jahari Idris was arrested around 5:30 a.m. Friday in Barangay Tandung Ahas in Lamitan.
Macario said that Idris is facing a kidnapping-for-ransom case before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 2 in Isabela City, Basilan. (MindaNews)