Nine Abu Sayyaf terrorists were killed in a combined air and ground assault on their island stronghold of Basilan.
It has been announced today (Friday, May 4) that Joint Task Force Basilan and the Third Tactical Operations Wing pounded a hideout of terror leader Furuji Indama near Sumisip on Wednesday.
Troops from the Third Scout Ranger Battalion under the joint task force closed in on the camp in the early hours of the morning.
As a firefight ensued, the air force conducted precision strikes using F/A 50 fighter jets. Covering fire also came from the Eighth Field Artillery Battalion.
The joint operations overwhelmed the enemy’s defensive position, forcing the terrorists to retreat, leaving injured comrades behind.
Also recovered from the site were two high powered firearms, an m203 grenade launcher, medical supplies and components of improvised explosive devices.
Lieutenant Colonel Montano Almadovar, commander of the Third Scout Ranger Battalion, said: “We were careful not to assault the enemy’s location before daylight. The Abus are known to emplace IEDS in their defensive positions. We do not want to fall into that trap.”
Information on the group’s whereabouts came from former Abu Sayaff members who surrendered to the military. Local residents also provided the military with intelligence.
Brigadier General Juvymax Uy, commander of the joint task force, said: “We have won several communities that used to support the Abu Sayaff bandits. The Abus are now confined in the hinterlands where they intimidate communities for support.”
In Basilan Province alone there are currently 139 former Abu Sayyaf fighters who have turned themselves in, with more signifying their intent to lay down their arms.
“The Abu Sayyafs are not safe in Basilan. We are giving the option to for them reconsider peace through surrender while the door is still open,” Brig. Gen. Uy said.
According to the Philippine News Agency, another leader, Nurhassan Jamiri, and 13 of his followers surrendered to government authorities on March 28