18 soldiers, 5 terrorists killed in Basilan clash

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) here reported that at least 18 government troops and five militants of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) died in a bloody clash on Saturday in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan.

WestMinCom spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan said more than 50 soldiers were wounded in the gunbattle that lasted for almost 10 hours.

The number of fatalities on the side of the soldiers is the biggest in recent years, according to Tan.

A similar encounter in Al Barka, Basilan, in 2011 left 19 government troops dead.


“Soldiers of Joint Task Group Basilan conducting military operations in Basilan province encountered more or less 120 Abu Sayyaf bandits under Isnilon Hapilon and Furuji Indama,” Tan told reporters in a news briefing.

He said the soldiers were attacked around 8 a.m. in Sitio Bayoko, Baguindan.

An intense firefight ensued between the ASG and the soldiers from the 44th Infantry Battalion, the 4th Special Forces Battalion, and 14 Cavalry troops.

More than 20 Abu Sayyaf members, including one of its leaders — Radzmil Jannatul alias Kubay — were injured in the firefight.

Besides the 18 soldiers killed, six others were also critically wounded. Military officials refused to release the identities of the dead pending notification of their families.

Tan said the fatalities on the side of the ASG included a suspected foreign terrorist, Moroccan Mohammad Khattab, and Ubaida Hapilon, son of ASG senior leader Isnilon Hapilon.

Khattab was a bomb instructor specializing in improvised explosive devices. He was also an Islamic jihadist preacher who tried to organize and unite local armed groups and kidnap-for-ransom gangs to link up with international terrorist groups to spread radicalism and extremism.

Tan said the firefight happened while the soldiers of the Joint Task Group Basilan were conducting military operations against the ASG under Isnilon Hapilon and Furuji Indama.

“Intense firefight ensued between government troops under 44th IB [Infantry Battalion], 4SFBn [Fourth Special Forces Battalion] and 14 Cavalry Troops against the combined KFRG [kidnap-for-ransom groups] that lasted for almost ten hours,” said Tan.

The wounded government troops were taken to military hospitals in Zamboanga City while the dead soldiers were transported to WestMinCom headquarters.

Tan said soldiers will continue to pursue the Abu Sayyaf bandits “and hold them accountable for their crimes.”

Gen. Hernando Iriberri, AFP chief of staff, and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin flew to Zamboanga to visit the wounded soldiers and condole with the families of those killed in action.

“Our troops fought gallantly and we salute them as they displayed the finest traditions of soldiery with utmost valor. We are truly better for their sacrifice and we will take inspiration from their exemplary service. After we grieve for our soldiers, we shall continue the fight to win the peace for our people. Our soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice so that the people of Basilan will be free from terrorists and secure a peaceful and bright future for their next generation,” the officials said in joint statement.

Lt. Gen. Eduardo Ano, Army commander, said top military officials are in Zamboanga to make sure that this time the ASG will be decimated.

“We are here not to actually investigate what happened but how we can continue the operation and finally destroy the Abu Sayyaf, lalo na ngayon na naidentify natin yung eksaktong location ng grupo so tuluy-tuloy ito (especially now that we have identified the exact location of the group, this is continuing),” Ano added.

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10 Comments

  1. They are not fighters islamic because islamic not we have a teaching against civilians and making money sort of thing. Severe, they not the mohammedans. From residents indonesia

  2. hahahahaa I will say it again. ignorant Pinoys will blame the president again and again and again and againnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
    Pnoy is not a military strategy planner. it’s the military like what happened to the 44 troopers.

    filipino mentality runs in the population of BOBOTANTES. hahahah lol.

    they swallow the 5 achievements of Pnoy.

  3. Rudi Miranda on

    Ano ang dahilan at parating dehado ang ating mga sundalo? Aber? Hindi po ito nalulutas ng mga press con?

  4. Josemakabayan on

    Dapat siguro mag iba ng stragedy, teknik ang ating mga sundalo at kapulisan, dahil parati na mas marami namamatay at nasusugatan sa hanay nila gayung mas kompleto kagamitan nila tulad ng mga armas , APCs, attack helicopters, etc, plus mas marami pa bilang nila at palagay ko mas malaki din ang logistics nila o budget.
    Mas mautak ba ang mga kumander ng mga kalaban kaya ganito???? O nasasakrapisyo ang mga sundalo para sa mas malaking budget?????

  5. Nasaan Kaya ang mga attack helicopters, jet fighter bombers, modern tangke de giyera? Napalm bomb, cluster bomb? Wala? Hindi na masusugpo ang mga ‘to.

  6. Kung ginamit Ang Scout Rangers dito sa Opearation nito palagay ko minimal Ang casualty O Baka wala pa at Hindi ganyan mag operate Ang SR Na masyadong Lantad Ang tropa, maramihan at yung iba alledgelly nakasakay pa sa Mil Vehicles going to the objective at dinisregard Nila yung mga high grounds sa paligid Nila. Killing zone yung pinasok ng tropa at naroon yung mga kalaban waiting at nakikita Na sila. Pag Scout Rangers yan sa Gabi at umuulan Ang favorite movement Nila at never dadaan yan sa open terrain with high grounds. They will always take the high grounds and make use of the night and rain. Another lesson learn for the AFP. Re-Read Tsun Zu Art of War.

    Teka alam Na ba ni Pnoy Ito? Kailan sya mag bigay ng statement after a week? Tulad sa Kidapawan, 19 SF Army KIA AL BARKA BASILAN 2011, SAF 44 Mamasapano 2015? Baka wala pang nag inform sa kanya at tulog pa at Off Ang CP Nya. Haaaay Naku Ang daming namamatay mga Sundalo sa panahon Nya.

  7. having a weak and corrupted leader like noynoy is the only reason why we loose simple gunfight with islamic rebels…

    • Of course, government troopers will not win the fight–because their Commander-in-Chief favored the MILF,to form the Bangsamoro State. And who is MILF same relatives, families and friends of MNLF, BIFF, and Abu Sayyaf. Who do you think finance those–that Philippine government will even give them 70 billion–there are numerous hand behind all these. These “hands” plus a President who doesn’t know from Day one, will not learn until the end of his term. Problems and more problems are filing up. Because there are no decisions or it take times before decisions are made–usually its too late.