Six soldiers were killed and four wounded in a clash with Abu Sayyaf terrorists on Basilan Island it was announced today.
Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr, Western Mindanao Command chief, reported the deadly clash near Sumisip town that took place yesterday (Wednesday, November 8).
“We are sad to report the death of six of your soldiers during the encounter yesterday in Basilan,” he said in a press statement.
He expressed his sadness at the deaths and also vowed that combat operations against Abu Sayyaf “will be intensified with our intelligence operations and sustained campaign”.
Soldiers of the 18th Infantry Battalion moved against the terrorists under Siar Alhamsirol and Parong Tedi at about 12.40pm yesterday.
The terrorists were soon reinforcement by other “lawless elements” said Colonel Juvymax Uy, commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan.
“As they edged towards the circumferential road, operating troops were met with heavy fire by lawless elements believed to be relatives and sympathisers of the Abu Sayyaf bandits,” he said.
The gun battle lasted for about four hours. It is not known how many Abu Sayyaf members and other militants were killed.
By about 2pm, the Air Force arrived to provided close air support while troops of the 64th and 68th Infantry Battalions also arrived in the battle area.
The remains of the fallen soldiers have been transported to Zamboanga City.
The wounded soldiers were evacuated to the headquarters of the 64th Infantry Battalion and received medical treatment at the Camp Navarro General Hospital and a private hospital.
Not just Abu Sayyaf…
Meanwhile, in Nueva Vizcaya, one soldier was killed was killed and 10 injured in an encounter with Communist rebels this morning.
Lieutenant Colonel Ray Tiongson, Philippine Army spokesperson, said that at about 8.30am, members of the 84th Infantry Battalion clashed with an undetermined number of New People’s Army (NPA) members in Dupax del Sur.
Lieutenant Colonel George Bergonia, 84IB acting commander, immediately sent reinforcements to support the troops.
The fighting ended at about 11.30am, and a body of an unidentified rebel was recovered during clearing operations.