Junior officer, 5 soldiers killed in Basilan clash
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Six soldiers, including a junior officer, were killed in an encounter with Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sumisip, Basilan on Sunday morning, November 2, a day after the military launched air strikes against members of the local bandit group in adjacent island Sulu.
Capt. Rowena Muyuela of the military's Western Mindanao Command said a unit of soldiers who were were conducting a security patrol in Sitio Mompol in Barangay Libug were fired upon by at least 20 heavily armed rebels reportedly led by Radzmi Jannatul.
A fierce firefight ensued and lasted for about 45 minutes, leaving 6 soldiers dead.
The military has not yet released the names of the casualties but Muyuela said a 2nd Lieutenant has died in the encounter.
Col Rolando Bautista, commander of the 104th Brigade, shared that the soldiers were deployed in the area to secure peace and development projects for the communities.
"My soldiers are securing the Basilan Circumferential Road project to ensure its timely completion before the end of this year. I am saddened this senseless violence against our soldiers who are helping deliver public services for the people," said Bautista.
Reinforcements were immediately dispatched to help pursue the fleeing rebels, Bautista said.
The military has launched massive combat operations against the militants after 2 German nationals were released in Sulu last month .
On Saturday, November 1, the military has engaged the ASG bandits in two separate incidents in Sulu. (READ: Pressure on military to show results in hunt vs Abu Sayyaf)
At around 7:30 in the morning, soldiers from the 35th Infantry Battalion clashed with at least 15 ASG members in a forested area in Bungkaong, Patikul.
And at around 4:30 in the afternoon, government troops encountered at least 60 rebels in Bud Langgal, Patikul which was followed by aerial strikes by two MG 520 helicopters.
No casualties were reported in both incidents Saturday. – Rappler.com