ZAMBOANGA CITY – A member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was killed as Army elite forces overran an encampment of the terror group in the hinterlands of Sulu, the military reported on Saturday.
Maj. Gen. William Gonzales, Joint Task Force (JTF)-Sulu commander, said the troops overran the encampment following a clash that broke out at about 12:20 p.m. Friday while they were checking on the reported presence of ASG bandits in Bud Daho, Barangay Lumping Pigi Daho, Talipao.
“Immediately, troops of (the) 5th Scout Ranger Battalion who are operating nearby proceeded to the location. Then and there, they fought with more or less 20 Abu Sayyaf bandits under sub-leaders Mundi Sawadjaan and Ellam Nasirin,” he said.
Gonzales, also 11th Infantry Division commander, said the troops found the remains of a slain ASG bandit while clearing the bandit’s encampment as the rest of the ASG bandits scampered in different directions.
Brig. Gen. Antonio Bautista Jr., commander of the 1101st Infantry Brigade, said the troops recovered from the fallen ASG encampment 14 hammocks, eight ponchos, three pairs of boots, and food items.
Bautista said some of the fleeing ASG bandits were wounded during the 20-minute firefight as bloodstains were found in their former encampment site.
“Our combat trackers are doing their best to locate this group. Bloodstains were found at the encampment (of the bandits),” he said.
Meanwhile, Gonzales dedicated Friday’s accomplishment to the casualties of the July 4 plane crash in Patikul, Sulu.
“I commend the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion for this extraordinary feat. Troops here in Sulu are still mourning the death of our comrades who died on the C-130 mishap, but we have no choice (but) to keep on with our mandate. They came here to join us in our campaign for peace in Sulu. We honor them by striving to achieve that mission,” Gonzales said.
Most of the 96 passengers aboard the ill-fated C-130 plane were new enlisted personnel of the Army sent to fight the ASG bandits in Sulu. (PNA)