14 Killed as Soldiers Fight Militants in Southern Philippines

Zamboanga City, Philippines, 19 Safar 1438/19 November 2016 (MINA) – A brief but heavy gunbattle erupted Friday left at least 14 killed, including 10 Abu Sayyaf militants and four soldiers, in the mountain of Patikul town, Sulu Province, according to security official.

At least nine soldiers were also wounded in the firefight, said Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman of Western Mindanao Command, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

The military said the fierce fighting ensued when troops under the 35th Infantry Battalion attacked about 150 Abu Sayyaf militants at the village of Buhanginan, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf group in the strife province of Sulu.

Also Read:  5 Troops Killed in Ambush by Abu Sayyaf

The encounter came when a freed Filipino captive confirmed to authorities he saw several hostages held by the Abu Sayyaf group.

The military confirmed earlier that the Abu Sayyaf group is holding at least 22 captives, including a Dutch, German, two Indonesians, five Malaysians, six Vietnamese and six locals.

The military could not immediately say if all of the hostages are being held altogether in Sulu as there are reports the separate bandit group are holding the six Vietnamese sailors in Basilan.

Tan said the gunbattle in Patikul erupted about 10.20 am with troops attacking the Abu Sayyaf group for about 45 minutes.

Also Read:  An Indonesian Humanitarian Reveals Condition of Muslim Xinjiang, China

“The firefight was fierce and ground troops were supported by ground bombardment utilising 105 mm Howitzer,” Tan said.

Tan said the Abu Sayyaf group retreated and splintered but were subjected by heavy cannon bombardments.

Troops in the nearby areas conducted blocking operations to receive the escaping militants with assault.

The 350-strong Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), founded in the early 1990s, is notorious for series of kidnappings, bombings and even beheadings in southern Philippines over the past decades.

The ASG operates mainly in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi Provinces in the Sulu Archipelago and has a presence on Mindanao. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)