Four Abu Sayyaf terrorists have been killed in a military offensive supported by air strikes on the group’s stronghold of Basilan Island.
Brigadier General Fernando Reyeg, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, said the operation early today (Wednesday, April 24) was targeted at fighters under sub-leader Furuji Indama.
Brig. Gen. Reyeg said a heavy firefight ensued as the joint forces of the Army’s 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion, 64th Infantry Battalion, 18th Infantry Battalion, and 12th Division Reconnaissance Company (12DRC) swooped down onto their target.
He said the air strikes were launched after the terrorists all fled in different directions.
“Our troops are currently on the ground to pin down the Abu Sayyaf who are on the run and are evading military forces,” he said.
He said the troops of the 12DRC recovered the remains of the four slain militants and three high-powered firearms — an M-16 Armalite rifle, an M-14 and an R4 during the clearing operation.
“The sustained military operations of JTF (Joint Task Force) Basilan manifest the commitment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in fulfilling its mandate of bringing internal peace and security in the province of Basilan,” said Lieutenant General Arnel dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief.
“Rest assured that we will continue to abide by the rules of engagement and contain the Abu Sayyaf Group with the assistance of the local government and the community,” he added.
Abu Sayyaf leader killed on Sulu
Meanwhile, on the group’s other island stronghold, Sulu, another Abu Sayyaf sub-leader was killed today.
Philippine Marine troops as the focused military operations continue against the ASG bandits in Sulu, officials said Wednesday.
Colonel Gerry Besana, Westmincom information officer, identified the slain terrorist as Hapidz Abdurahman, who is based near the town of Pata.
Col. Besana said Abdurahman was killed in a 10-minute firefight yesterday evening.
He said the troops from the Marine Battalion Landing Team-3 were on a military operation when they clashed with Abduhraman’s fighters.
His remains have now been buried according to Muslim rites.
“We are building up our focused and intelligence operations to pursue, pressure, and defeat Abu Sayyaf militants in Sulu,” Lt. Gen. Dela Vega said.
“While we are gaining a foothold with our persistent offensives, the military will continuously exert all efforts to reach out and work with the Suluanons to pave the way for peace and development in the province.”
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