Junior officer down, 9 troops wounded in Sulu clash

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 24 June) – A junior officer was killed and nine of his men were wounded as they battled against an undetermined number of members of the Abu Sayyaf Group at the hinterlands of Patikul town in Sulu over the weekend.

Patikul, Sulu. Map courtesy of Google

As operating troops of the 32nd Infantry Battalion of the Army’s 11th Infantry Division were patrolling in the vicinity of Sitio Tubig Bukayon in Barangay Pansul of said town, they were outnumbered in a fierce encounter with the rebels.

“It is with deep sadness to report that one valiant military officer paid the ultimate sacrifice and nine personnel were wounded while fearlessly fighting the enemies and protecting the people of Sulu,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, head of the Western Mindanao Command.

“I lost one very good officer,” shared Lt. Col. Ralph DC De Mesa, commanding officer of the 32IB, who confirmed the incident that occurred past 10 a.m. Saturday.

Killed was 1Lt Ryan Lou G. Retener, company commander, while nine wounded soldiers were identified as Sgt Lito P Nuevo Jr., PFC Harold Kim B Sagante, PFC J-R E Sebastian, PFC Danar J Berganio, Pvt Jan P Maligaya, Pvt Zyrus L Wayas, Pvt Arthur D De Leon, Pvt Raffy C Santillan and Pvt Jerric D Nantes.

“Our troops are still pursuing the withdrawing enemies who left several blood stains on their tracks,” said Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, JTF Sulu Commander.

“The skirmishers between our forces and the ASG persist. As we actively support the civil government in preventing the spread of COVID-19, we also ensure that the people in the community are safe and secured from terrorism,” Sobejana said.

“In so doing, our troops from 32IB based in Sulu engaged in a heavy firefight against the ASG in Patikul that claimed the life of one brave soldier and wounding of nine others,” the WestMinCom chief stated, adding that “the family of our fallen comrade will immediately be notified and ensure that all forms of assistance are provided.” (Frencie Carreon/MindaNews)