ZAMBOANGA CITY:Government troops hunting down Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists had killed three more gunmen in fighting on Capual Island off the southern Philippine province of Sulu, officials announced on Wednesday.
Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, said a total of eight rebels were killed in the fighting since February 7.
She added that the bodies of all slain rebels had been recovered by soldiers and that four of the gunmen have been identified as Karra Kinod, Asbiali Ijiram, Bari Rabah and Hassan Angkong.
The casualties were followers of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Alhabsi Misaya, who managed to escape from military operations.
“Pursuit [operations]launched by Marine troops against the group of Misaya resulted in another round of armed confrontation, increasing the number of enemy casualties to eight,” Petinglay said, adding that military forces also recovered eight automatic rifles and two grenade launchers, including munition and camouflage uniforms from the island.
Petinglay said soldiers continue to search for Misaya and other leaders of the Abu Sayyaf who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
“The Joint Task Force Sulu continues to conduct scouring and pursuit on the evading Abu Sayyaf members. Naval blockade and maritime security patrol off the waters of Capual Island are continuously being conducted,” she added.
Major General Carlito Galvez, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, has ordered security forces to rescue some two dozen Abu Sayyaf hostages, mostly Asian sailors seized from Basilan province and in Sabah in Malaysia last year.
“Military operations are currently being intensified to contain the Abu Sayyaf Group and facilitate the possible rescue of hostages in the hinterlands of Sulu,” he said.