18 soldiers hurt in clashes with Abu in Basilan

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/11 April) – Eighteen soldiers were wounded as clashes ensued anew between government forces and Abu Sayyaf bandits early Friday in the nearby province of Basilan, military officials said.

Capt. Richard Enciso, information officer of the Basilan-based 104th Infantry Brigade, disclosed that eight soldiers were wounded in the first clash that erupted around 2:25 a.m. Friday at Sitio Kurellem, Barangay Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo.

Another clash ensued several minutes later in the same area wounding 10 more soldiers belonging to the 18th Infantry Battalion.

Enciso said they believe the bandits also sustained casualties.

Capt. Maria Rowena Muyuela, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, said the soldiers, who suffered slight injuries, were airlifted to the Camp Navarro General Hospital in this city.

Muyuela said the troops were conducting combat operations when they encountered a group of Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Furuji Indama.

She said the combat operation targeted suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits who carried out extortion activities victimizing private contractors doing concreting works on the Basilan circumferential road’s Magkawa-Al-Barka section.

She said they aim to clear Tipo-Tipo and Albarka of Abu Sayyaf influence to bring normalization and development to the two areas. (MindaNews)