Six members of the Abu Sayyaf terror group were killed while eight soldiers were wounded in an encounter in Patikul, Sulu, Wednesday night.
According to the reports of the military, 45th Infantry Battalion (IB) soldiers clashed with an undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf in Barangay Latih at around 6 p.m.
Maj. Arvin John Encinas, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesman, said the rebels withdrew after about 35 minutes of exchanging fires with the military.
Encinas said the troops recovered the bodies of the three killed bandits. They were identified as Guro Khalid, Udal Muhamadar Said, and an alias Budah.
“Based on reports, three more enemies were killed, and many others were wounded,” Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Joint Task Force Sulu, and 11th Division commander said citing intelligence reports.
The wounded troops were initially brought to a military hospital at Camp Gen. Teodulfo Bautista in Barangay Bus-bus, Jolo. The soldiers were later transferred to the Camp Navarro General Hospital.
The Westmincom spokesman said the bandits could be the same group that had an encounter with the 21st IB military soldiers on April 17.
The clash in Barangay Danag killed 11 soldiers and wounded 14 others.
The troop also lost 7 R4 rifles, one with a 40mm grenade launcher attached, a K3 saw, and a handheld Harris Radio unit – used by the military for secure communications in the attack.
According to Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Westmincom commander, military ground forces were ordered to heighten their operations against the Abu Sayyaf group.
“We are sustaining our focused military operations in Sulu to finish the Abu Sayyaf and bring peace in the province,” Sobejana said.
“Please continue to pray for the safety of our soldiers who render unselfish service to win peace as we equally pray for our protection against the coronavirus disease 2019,” he said.
Abu Sayyaf continues to spread terror in Sulu, Mindanao
In January 2020, the Philippine military reported that the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf group kidnapped 5 Indonesian fishers in Malaysian waters.
Abu Sayyaf also abducted a British man and Filipina wife in a resort in at a resort in Zamboanga del Sur on October 4, 2019. The military successfully rescued the couple on November 25, 2019.
In October 2019, military troops intercepted the bomb plot of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan, where six improvised bombs after their encounter with the terrorist group in Brgy. Calang Canas, Maluso, Basilan.