7 killed, 23 wounded in Army-ASG clash in Sulu

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 25 Feb) – Seven people – five suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers – were killed while 23 others were wounded in a firefight Wednesday in Sulu, the military said.

Capt. Ma. Rowena Muyuela, Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) information officer, said the clash broke out around 9:20 a.m. Wednesday in Barangay Tanum in the municipality of Patikul.

Muyuela said joint forces from the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion and 16th Special Forces Company encountered 300 Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan while on law enforcement operation that triggered the firefight.

Muyuela said the Joint Task Group Sulu (JTGS) pounded the Abu Sayyaf bandits positions with artillery fire and air strikes that resulted in the death of 5 ASG members and 14 wounded.

Muyuela said nine soldiers were also wounded.

She said the JTGS have coordinated with the police as well as ordered the different detachments to set up blocking positions and checkpoints to prevent the escape of the Abu Sayyaf bandits from the clash site.