ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Seven were killed and 21 others wounded during a clash between government troops and around 80 Abu Sayyaf members in Patikul, Sulu, on Friday morning, April 5.
The military said 4 were killed and 9 wounded on the Abu Sayyaf side, while 3 soldiers were killed and 13 others wounded on the part of the 5th Scout Ranger Batallion following the "intense" 30-minute firefight in Sitio Atol, Barangay Latih in Patikul on Friday morning.
The Abu Sayyaf members were under sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, believed to be behind the deadly twin blasts in the Jolo Cathedral.
The operation is part of Joint Task Force Sulu's ongoing pursuit operations against the Abu Sayyaf members who attacked school teachers in Barangay Kan-Agi in Patikul on April 2.
Soldiers who needed medical attention were immediately evacuated via choppers to the Kuta Heneral Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo. Most of the wounded soldiers suffered minor injuries caused by shrapnel wounds and were reportedly in stable condition.
Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo Jr, Joint Task Force Sulu Commander, said the latest operation is the result of good intelligence provided by local communities.
Last month, 5 soldiers were killed during an encounter with Abu Sayyaf also under Sawadjaan. – Rappler.com