ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/28 October) – Three soldiers and two alleged Abu Sayyaf members were killed while 10 other soldiers were wounded in a clash early Sunday morning in the hinterlands of Sulu
Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) said the clash broke out at around 6:30 a.m. Sunday while the troops were checking on the reported presence of kidnap victims in Barangay Bakong, Patikul town.
Cabangbang did not name the slain and injured troops but acknowledged they were from the Marine Battalion Landing Team-6 (MBLT-6).
He said the suspected Abu Sayyaf members who were killed were followers of Abu Sayyaf commander Radulan Sahiron, whose group is based in Patikul town, Cabangbang said. Only one of the two has been identified as Kaisar.
Cabangbang did not name the kidnap victims who were allegedly sighted in Barangay Bakong and whose alleged presence prompted the MBLT-6 to deploy troops.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding captive Australian adventurer Warren Rodwell, 57, and wildlife photographers Ewold Horn, 52, of Holland, and Lorenzo Vinciguerre, 47, of Switzerland.
Rodwell was seized from his home in December 2011 in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay while Horn and Vinciguerre were kidnapped in February this year in Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi.
Cabangbang said newly-installed Wesmincom chief Maj. Gen. Rey Ardo immediately ordered the deployment of air assets as well as Navy boats to support the ground troops that clashed with the Abu Sayyaf.
He also ordered the evacuation of the wounded to the nearest hospital and the transport of the remains of the slain soldiers.
Ardo assumed as Wesmincom chief last Wednesday. (MindaNews)