ZAMBOANGA CITY: A government soldier was killed while his companion was wounded in an attack Thursday in the town of Patikul in Sulu.
Police said the soldiers, belonging to the 35th Infantry Battalion (IB), were heading to their barracks coming from Zamboanga City on a motorcycle while the assailants, also riding a motorcycle, were tailing them and staged the ambush.
The attackers sped off after the shooting, leaving the bloodied soldiers behind. The identities of the victims were not immediately known and the Western Mindanao Command did not issue any statement in connection with the attack.
Just recently, a suspected Abu Sayyaf member also lobbed a grenade on a military truck transporting troops in Jolo town and injured seven special rangers. The soldiers just arrived by boat in Jolo from Zamboanga City and were heading to their camp when the attack occurred at the port area, just several blocks from the police headquarters.
The soldiers were sent to the province to augment the ground forces battling the Abu Sayyaf which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. There was no arrest made, but suspicion fell heavily on Abu Sayyaf who are still holding several foreigners in Sulu’s hinterlands.
On Wednesday, the military claimed to have seized an Abu Sayyaf encampment in a remote village of Gulangan in Maimbung town. There were no reports of casualties from both sides, but the military said the camp can accommodate as much as 200 people and was being used by Abu Sayyaf leader Idang Susukan.
Susukan is a brother of Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf leader Mujiv Susukan, linked by the military to the beheading of Malaysian hostage Bernard Then in November 2015 after his family failed to pay the ransom.