FOUR members of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed in a focused military operation yesterday morning in Basilan province.
This was confirmed by Colonel Gerry Besana, spokesman of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).
Identities of the slain bandits were not yet available as of press time.
Besana said the operation was conducted in the wee hours of Wednesday at Sitio Gipitan, Barangay Bohe Pahu, Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan.
He said troops of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion, 64th Infantry Battalion, 18th Infantry Battalion and 12th Division Reconnaissance Company under the Joint Task Force Basilan led by Brigadier General Fernando Reyeg, launched focused military operations against the ASG bandits under sub-leader Furuji Indama in the said area.
A heavy firefight ensued until the enemy withdrew towards an unknown direction.
General Reyeg said during the fire fight, close air support was immediately deployed to go after the fleeing bandits.
“Our troops are currently on the ground to pin down the Abu Sayyaf who are on the run and are evading military forces,” General Reyeg said.
Aside from the four bodies of the enemy, the troops also recovered three high-powered firearms including an M16 rifle, one M14 rifle and one R4.
“The sustained military operations of JTF Basilan manifest the commitment of the AFP in fulfilling its mandate of bringing internal peace and security in the province of Basilan,” WestMinCom Chief Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega said.
“Rest assured that we will continue to abide by the rules of engagement and contain the Abu Sayyaf Group with the assistance of the local government and the community,” LtGen Dela Vega added.