6 soldiers die in Basilan clash

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/02 November) – Six soldiers, including a junior officer, were killed Sunday in a clash with suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sumisip, Basilan province, a top military official disclosed.

Col. Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the Basilan-based Army 104th Infantry Brigade, did not release the identities of the slain soldiers except to say they belonged to the 64th Infantry Battalion and the junior officer was a young Lieutenant.

Bautista said the troops were deployed to secure a Saudi-funded road project in Barangay Libug, Sumisip.

He added the troops were conducting security patrol at Sitio Mompol, Barangay Libug, when they clashed around 7:30 a.m. Sunday with around 20 heavily armed Abu Sayyaf bandits led by a certain Radzmi Jannatul.

He said the firefight lasted for about 45 minutes resulting in the death of six soldiers.

“My soldiers are securing the Basilan Circumferential Road project to ensure its timely completion before the end of this year. I am saddened this senseless violence against our soldiers who are helping in the delivery of public services for the people,” he said.

Bautista has sent reinforcements to pursue the group of Jannatul.

He vowed to press criminal charges against the bandits who are harassing the security forces giving protection to the workers of the Saudi-assisted 64-kilometer road project. (MindaNews)