10 soldiers injured in Basilan ambush

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/21 August) – Ten government soldiers were injured in an ambush Thursday staged by suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in the province of Basilan, the military said.

Capt. Franco Suelto, 1st Infantry Division public affairs officer-in-charge, said the troops were ambushed around 9:45 a.m. while they were traversing from Barangay Sungkayut to Barangay Bohe-Suyak, Ungkaya Pukan municipality.

He said the Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Puruji Indama exploded an improvised bomb when the troops returned fire.

Suelto said the bandits fled towards southeast direction following a 15-minute firefight.

He did not identify the wounded soldiers but said eight are from the 18th Infantry Battalion and the other two are militiamen.

The troops were ambushed while they were on the way to provide security for the ongoing concreting project of the circumferential road in the area.

The victims were airlifted to the Camp Navarro General Hospital in this city.

Meanwhile, combined police and military operatives arrested in this city late Wednesday two suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits. A grenade was confiscated from the suspects, said Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, Zamboanga City police director.

Casimiro identified the suspects as Edwin Sawaldi and Jemhar Allih.

He said Sawaldi was arrested around 6:10 p.m. at the port area while Allih around 11:15 p.m. at Sitio Tawi-Tawi, Barangay Taluksangay here.

Casimiro said Sawaldi has a standing warrant of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention issued by a court in Isabela City while Allih has pending warrants of arrest for violation of Republic Act 6593 otherwise known as the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972 and attempted murder issued by a local court.

He said further investigation showed Allih was found to be also an Abu Sayyaf member.

Casimiro said a case of illegal possession of explosives will be filed against Allih as a fragmentation grenade was confiscated from his possession when arrested.