ZAMBOANGA CITY (PNA) – Three militiamen were killed while 11 others, including six soldiers, were wounded after government troops clashed Monday with suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sumisip town, Basilan province.
Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesperson, clarified a report earlier in the day that a soldier was killed during the encounter.
The first gunfight occurred when troops of the Army’s 4th Special Forces Battalion encountered a group of Abu Sayyaf bandits while conducting security patrol at around 7:15 a.m. in Barangay Cabcaban, Sumisip.
The battalion had just established a detachment in the village following a request from the municipal government.
At around 7:45 a.m., the engaged troops were reinforced by the 1st Special Forces Company, who were fired upon by the withdrawing bandits as they were traversing the temporary patrol base in Barangay Cabcaban, Petinglay said.
Of the 11 wounded, eight were taken to the Westmincom’s Camp Navarro General Hospital in this city while the other three were brought to a hospital in Basilan province.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, said there has been a clamor from the local government of Sumisip to establish a detachment in Cabcaban due to security threats from the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
As of posting time, he said the firefight was still raging in the town of Sumisip between soldiers and the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
The military will continue to secure the area and work with the local chief executives to contain the Abu Sayyaf bandits, Galvez said.
“This incident will not stop us from doing our mandate. We will free the community from the terror these bandits are causing,” he added.