TEN members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and four soldiers were killed while several others were wounded during a heavy firefight in Patikul Sulu on Friday. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the fresh clashes happened as security forces continue to intensify in the ASG strongholds in Sulu and Basilan. Reports said troops from the Philippine Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion encountered at least 150 heavily-armed jihadists led by ASG leader Radullan Sahiron at Sitio Dyundangan, Barangay Buhanginan in Patikul, Sulu. The military said indirect fire support was delivered by 105mm Howitzers while other units conducted pursuit and blocking operations. All units were directed to establish checkpoints in their respective areas, the AFP added. The AFP Joint Task Force Sulu is facilitating casualty evacuation and directed an S-76 air ambulance to airlift wounded personnel from Sulu to Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City. Officials temporarily withheld the identities of the dead and nine wounded soldiers pending notification of their families. Besides the 10 slain bandits, several other members of the ASG were wounded based on witnesses’ accounts and intelligence reports, the military said.



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