22 Abu Sayyaf Gunmen Killed in Sulu Clashes

Zamboanga City, Philippines, 26 Dzulqa’dah 1437/29 August 2016 (MINA) – At least 22 Abu Sayyaf gunmen have been killed in continuing military operations in Patikul, Sulu that started on Friday, following President Duterte’s orders to crush the bandit group.

Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS) commander, Sunday reported no casualty among the troops in the encounter with the bandits.

The combined troops from the Army and its elite Scout Rangers launched an attack an Abu Sayyaf stronghold in Barangay Latih on Saturday, killing three militants.

The troops gave chase to the more than a hundred Abu Sayyaf gunmen that managed to escape following the clash on Friday in Barangay Bungkaong.

Last Friday’s encounter left 11 militants dead, including Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Mohammad Said, alias Ama Maas, who is wanted for murder.

Eight other bandits were confirmed dead, based on reports from troops retrieving the bodies of the dead militants at the scene of the firefight.

Dela Vega said the soldiers also recovered high-powered assault rifles, including an M203 grenade launcher, from the slain rebels.

Initial reports said two hostages were rescued by the troops while another was freed by the bandits during the military operation.

There were no reports, however, that the military was able to locate Norwegian Kjartan Sikkengstad, who was still held captive by the Abu Sayyaf.

A number of hostages are still being held by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, including Sekkingstad, Indonesian sailors and Dutch birdwatcher Ewold Horn who was kidnapped in the high seas off Tawi-Tawi in February 2012. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)