SEVEN notorious members of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed while 23 others including, 17 soldiers, were wounded in an encounter the other day in Patikul, Sulu.
This was confirmed yesterday by Colonel Gerry Besana, spokesperson of Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division.
Identities of the slain bandits were not available as of press time but one of the six wounded was identified as ASG subleader Hatib Hajan Sawqdjaan whom was reportedly hit in his stomach and lower extremities.
The wounded soldiers were immediately taken to the nearest hospital.
Reports reaching Camp Aguinaldo showed that the encounter occurred at around 1:30 pm in Barangay Bakong, Patikul, Sulu.
Accordingly, troops from Task Group Panther led by Lt. Col. Samuel Yunque and a group of Scout Rangers led by Capt. Michael Asistores were conducting focused military operation in the area when they encountered around 100 fully armed ASG under Senior Leader Radullan Sahiron and sub-leaders Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan and Idang Susukan.
A firefight immediately occurred, lasting for several minutes and resulting to the killing of seven bandits and wounding of six others and 17 soldiers.
Joint Task Force Sulu commander Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo said one of the ASG sub-leader was in critical condition.
Recovered from the encounter site were one M16 rifle, four 5.56 mm magazines, one bandolier, one touchscreen cellular phone, and assorted war materiel and ammunition.
Westmincom commander Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega commended the troops for their successful operation.
“I commend the troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu for their accomplishment,” Dela Vega said.
“All sorts of assistance will be provided to the casualties and our prayers are with them for their speedy recovery,” he added.