6 soldiers killed in clash with Abu Sayyaf in Basilan

BASILAN, Philippines – Six soldiers were killed and 4 others wounded in a clash with Abu Sayyaf members and their supporters in Sumisip town on Wednesday, November 8.

Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez Jr,  Western Mindanao Command chief, reported the outcome of the encounter on Thursday, November 9.

“We are sad to report the death of 6 of your soldiers during the encounter yesterday in Basilan,” Galvez said.

He said combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf "will be intensified with our intelligence operations and sustained campaign."

Elements of the 18th Infantry Battalion conducted a strike operation against the Abu Sayyaf under Siar Alhamsirol and Parong Tedi in Barangay Upper Cabengbeng, Sumisip at 12:41 pm on Wednesday.

The Abu Sayyaf got reinforcement from lawless elements that engaged the troops near the Basilan circumferential road in Sumisip, 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 sympathizers of the Abu Sayyaf bandits,” said Uy.

The firefight lasted for about 4 hours, leading to an undetermined number of casualties on the other side, the military officer said. 

The Air Force provided close air support past 2 pm on Wednesday, while  troops of the 64th and 68th Infantry Battalions augmented the government forces in the engagement area, Uy said.

The remains of the 6 soldiers had been transported to Zamboanga City. 

The wounded were evacuated to the headquarters of the 64th Infantry Battalion and received medical treatment at the Camp Navarro General Hospital and a private hospital. – Rappler.com