By Arwen Pascua
MANILA — Five soldiers were wounded after members of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalions clashed with members of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) while conducting blocking operations in Barangay Pansul, Sulu.
Troops chanced upon the fleeing terrorists earlier encountered by members of the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion, according to Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, JTF Sulu Commander.
“The Rangers were establishing blockade a few meters away from the first encounter site in Barangay Pansul, Patikul, Sulu when they encountered the fleeing enemies. A fierce firefight ensued which lasted for about 30 minutes after which the enemy withdrew bringing along their casualties with them,” said Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, JTF Sulu Commander.
The wounded soldiers were immediately extricated from the area and evacuated to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital for medical attention. The number of casualties on the enemy side is yet to be determined.
“We are certain that the ASG incurred numerous casualties as evidenced in the bloodstains in the encounter site,” said Lt. Col. Felicito Cutit, Commander of the 3SRB.
While scouring the area, the operating troops recovered a 5.56mm linked ammunition, one 5.56mm magazine, and enemy personal belongings.
According to 1101st Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Antonio Bautista, the wounded soldiers are now in stable condition while blocking and pursuit operations are continuously being conducted.
“We pray for their speedy recovery and we commend them for their gallantry,” Col. Bautista said.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., the Commander of the Western Mindanao Command, lauded the troops of the JTF Sulu for remaining steadfast in ending terrorism in their area of responsibility.
“We are utilizing all our capabilities to sustain the peace in our area of operation during this yuletide season. We are closely monitoring the enemies to prevent them from creating havoc in the peaceful communities,” Vinluan said.(AI/FC/MTVN)