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Sunday, February 15, 2015

6 troops, 5 civilians hurt, 2 Abus killed in Basilan clash


Two Abu Sayyaf terrorists were killed while six soldiers and five civilians were wounded after intense firefight erupted between military troops and bandit group in Basilan province yesterday.

Quoting reports from the field, Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)-Public Affairs Office chief, said the seven-hour running gun battle started around 5:45 a.m. along Barangay Kuhon in al Barka town. He added a company-sized of soldiers from the military’s Joint Task group Basilan engaged the Abu Sayyaf band of Bashir Kasaran, resulting in the killing of two terrorists while two others were wounded.

Six soldiers were wounded during the clash and are now in stable condition, the military official said.

According to Cabunoc, the Abu Sayyaf bandits fired at the civilians while retreating, which resulted in wounding of five of them.

He said the military troops attended to initially to the wounded civilians before being evacuated to a local hospital in Isabela City.
A military helicopter providing close air support to the ground troops was also hit by enemy fire.
Cabunoc added the helicopter sustained “minor damage” but managed to land safely.
The encounter was a result of the continuing all-out law enforcement operations against the Abu Sayyaf group jointly by the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“The AFP and PNP are relentlessly pursuing the bandits in Basilan province in collaboration with the local government and in coordination with other stakeholders including the MILF communities,” said Cabunoc.

“We also commend the heroic pilots of MG MD520 attack helicopter that was hit by enemy fire while providing close air support to the ground troops which were swarmed by the bandits,” he added.

Cabunoc vowed continuous relentless operation against the ASG.

“We will not allow the lawless elements to hamper the development projects and other peace initiatives in the province of Basilan and the rest of Mindanao,” he said. 

In a separate encounter elsewhere in Mindanao, a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commander was killed during a clash with elements of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao province Saturday, reports reaching Camp Aguinaldo said yesterday.

Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, public affairs officer of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID), identified the slain MILF member as Datukong Ampuan, alias commander Falcon, of the MILF’s 108th Base Command.

Petinglay said the MILF band of Ampuan, under Jack Abas, clashed with elements of the BIFF, led by Shiek Muhiddin Animbang, alias Karialan, along Barangay Kalbugan in Pagalungan town.

According to Petinglay, the firefight started around 5 p.m. and lasted up to 8 p.m.
There were reports that the BIFF side suffered undetermined number of casualty.

Petinglay said elements of the 7th Infantry Battalion (IB) were tasked to closely monitor the incident.

The clash between MILF and BIFF elements came more than two weeks after fighters from the two groups joined forces against police commandos in Mamasapano also in Maguindanao.

Authorities tagged MILF and BIFF fighters in the brutal killing of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos, including seven junior officers, in barangays Pidsandawan and Tukanalipao last Jan. 25. AFP


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