ZAMBOANGA CITY: Army soldiers killed an Abu Sayyaf fighter in a clash on Sunday in the restive island-province of Basilan.
Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said soldiers from the 68th Infantry Battalion recovered the body of the slain militant, including his automatic rifle.
Fierce fighting broke out in Barangay Abong-Abong in Maluso town, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, that the military dispatched airplanes to attack enemy targets and provide close air support to ground troops pursuing the militants.
The Army also deployed two more battalions—the 64th and 18th Infantry—and Special Forces soldiers to augment the troops fighting the Abu Sayyaf. The gunfight lasted for over an hour, Petinglay said, adding, there was no report of military casualties.
“Air assets were deployed to the area to provide close air support to the engaged troops after more than an hour of gunfighting while Joint Task Force Basilan provided fire support,” Petinglay added.
The Abu Sayyaf is still holding several hostages, mostly seamen whose ships had been hijacked off Basilan, just several nautical miles off Zamboanga City.