ZAMBOANGA CITY: Gunmen ambushed a group of marines and killing one soldier and wounding at least three more in the southern Filipino province of Sulu.
The soldiers were returning to their base from a tree planting activity in the town of Parang when gunmen attacked them, sparking a firefight that killed the marine.
It was unknown if there were casualties on the side of the gunmen and no group claimed responsibility for the attack, but the military blamed the ambush to the Abu Sayyaf rebels.
Just recently, military forces launched an operation to capture Abu Sayyaf gunmen tagged in the spate of kidnappings in Sulu.
Marines had earlier clashed with rebels under Sihata Latip and Abraham Hamid in Talipao town that left at least 9 Abu Sayyaf gunmen dead and wounded and one of the slain has been identified as Rakib Jal.
Troops also captured a rebel encampment on a remote village used by the Abu Sayyaf to launch attacks on civilian and military targets in the province.
The camp was being used by Abu Sayyaf leaders Sibih Pisih and Idang Susukan. It was unknown if there were weapons or bombs in the base which is now being held by the Marine Battalion Landing Team 2.
Several government militias who are members of the Barangay Peace Action Team were also wounded and that two of them – Niko Minuddin and Sabor Sasapan – had been evacuated to Zamboanga City for emergency medical operation, local police said.
Last month, provincial police forces led by Senior Superintendent Abraham Orbita clashed with a small band of Abu Sayyaf gunmen that eventually swelled to about 400 after armed supporters of the terror group attacked them in the village of Tanduh Bato in Luuk town.
The fighting was so fierce that Orbita’s group, backed by a pair of armoured carriers, managed to hold their ground until police reinforcement arrived, but the gunmen broke into smaller groups and dispersed.
The Abu Sayyaf, which means “Bearer of the sword,” has been linked by authorities to the al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya and is blamed on the spate of bombings in the southern Philippines. AL JACINTO