3 soldiers killed in Abu Sayyaf ambush in Basilan

Richard Falcatan
3 soldiers killed in Abu Sayyaf ambush in Basilan

David Castuciano/Rappler

Authorities say the soldiers were attacked while they were on their way to a hill to replace another group manning an Army detachment

BASILAN, Philippines – Three soldiers were killed in an ambush carried out by the Abu Sayyaf in Al-Barka, Basilan, on Thursday afternoon, September 15.

Police said it has yet to determine the motive for the surprise attack, but local media reports said it appeared like the assailants wanted to snatch the victims’ firearms.

The ambush was staged by at least six men in the village of Magcawa near the town hall of Al-Barka at around 1:45 pm, said Vilma Tokong, the barangay chairman.

Investigators said the group was led by Abbas Jangkatan, known to police to be an Abu Sayyaf member.

Police said Army Corporal Mike Repoponio and privates 1st class Jhon Philip Pamplona and Jerwin Capoy were killed in the attack.

Investigators said two of the victims were shot in the head while another died of a gunshot wound to the stomach.

The military said the victims were attacked while they were on their way to a hill in Magcawa to replace another group manning a detachment set up by the Army’s 18th Infantry Battalion.

The soldiers, who were part of a team, put up a fight for at least 10 minutes, according to the military.

The military said the Abu Sayyaf group fled toward the direction of Tipo-Tipo town, with a rifle taken from one of the soldiers, as soon as an Army reinforcement came.

Following the attack, the military launched pursuit operations and stepped up security operations in the area. 

“We are deeply saddened by the report that three of our brave soldiers were killed in action while performing their duties…. We will work doubly to prevent the enemies of the state from creating havoc in peaceful communities,” said Lieutenant General Alfredo Rosario Jr., Western Mindanao Command chief. –

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