FOUR Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists and a soldier were killed while nine other soldiers were wounded in an encounter in Patikul, Sulu on Saturday.
This was confirmed by Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-Westmincom) spokesman Major Arvin Encinas.
Encinas said the encounter occurred around 1:40 p.m. at Sitio Tambang, Barangay Kabbon Takas in Patikul.
Initial investigation showed the Joint Task Force Sulu, along 32nd Infantry Battalion and 12th Reconnaissance Company were conducting focused military operation in the area when they encountered atleast 40 ASG under sub- leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.
The encounter resulted in the death of four bandits and one soldier and wounding of nine other soldiers.
The troops recovered one body believed to be belonging to one of the four slain bandits.
The troops also recovered one M16 Rifle; and personal belongings of the fleeing bandits.
“The spotted crumbs of human flesh and bloodstains in the encounter site are indicatives of ASG’s enormous casualties other than the cadaver recovered. Hence, we are very grateful for the information fed by the civilians regarding the presence of armed bandits in their communities,” said Brigadier General Antonio Nafarrete, commander of 1101st Brigade.
JTF Sulu commander Maj.Gen.Corleto Vinluan believed that the Abus were already losing their safe place in Sulu.
“The ASG has no safe place here in Sulu as the Peace-loving Tausugs are now very active in reporting their presence wherever they go,” Vinluan said.
He added that the untimely death of one of the soldiers will never weaken their spirits in their fight against terrorism.
“His ultimate sacrifice will serve as our inspiration and motivation in hunting down the remaining ASG in Sulu. The ASG maneuver space is dwindling. Hence, they now have to surrender or be killed by our operating forces,” he said.
Those who were wounded in the encounter were brought to the Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital for treatment.
AFP Westmincom Commander Lt.Gen.Cirilito Sobejana has appealed to the residents to continuously pray for the safety of every soldier.
“We call on all the peace-loving citizens of this country to continuously pray for the safety of our soldiers and the enlightenment of our enemies,” Sobejana said.