ZAMBOANGA CITY: Security forces have been deployed to Basilan to hunt down Abu Sayyaf terrorists who raided a village in the restive Muslim province, the Philippine Army spokesman said.
The Western Mindanao Command’s (WestMinCom) Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay on Tuesday said troops will not let up in their hunt for the bandits, whom authorities have blamed for a spate of deadly attacks in the province.
She added that at least nine people were reported dead and nine injured in the attack in Maluso town on August 21.
But local police, quoting wounded victims who were brought to Zamboanga City, said as many as 30 people were injured in the attack by about 50 gunmen in Tubigan village.
One victim, Marcelino Ramos, 31, said the attackers were members of groups linked to the Islamic State.
Petinglay said pro-government militia and soldiers from the 68th Infantry Battalion clashed with the terrorist who were forced to withdraw but not after they burned at least five houses and a multi-purpose hall.
She added that prior to the raid, troops captured on August 19 an Abu Sayyaf encampment in Mangalut village in Akbar town where the terrorists assemble improvised explosives.
The area, the spokesman said, was being used by rebel leader Nurhassan Jamiri.
Soldiers recovered assorted materials used in the manufacture of improvised explosives, including rifle magazines, cell phones, batteries and solar panels.
Troops chasing the terrorists, who escaped the military raid, caught up with them the next day and in a clash killed three gunmen—Omar Abdurahim, Kahim Jovel Indanan and Ekram Alam.
Five others—Abduhari Kabus, Boy Idris, Hasan Kabus, Mammang and Jaber Sali—were wounded in the fighting but they managed to escape.