ZAMBOANGA CITY: More than a dozen soldiers were wounded in fierce clashes Friday with Abu Sayyaf rebels in Sulu province.
A military intelligence report said the fighting erupted near the village of Danag in Patikul town after government troops raided an Abu Sayyaf lair.
It was not immediately known if there were rebels killed in the fighting, but sporadic clashes had been reported in several villages.
Those wounded in the clashes were identified as Lt. Col. Mario Jacinto, Sgts. Edgar
Pahunang, Henry Paguyo, Abdurahman Ladjahasan, Randy Rivera, Jul Amin Baridgi, Rey Saluag, Baguio Balansi, Bernard Rey Tamparon, and Anthony Remotin, Cpls. Jerahkim Cuello and Juverey Guia, Pfcs. Gleen Richard Ponse, Jojo Anlas and Pvt. Isagani Moracilla —all from the 10th Infantry Battalion (IB).
The Western Mindanao Command did not issue any statement about the fighting, which occurred just a day after security forces captured three Abu Sayyaf fighters —Jemar Asgari, 22; Alden Asmad, 29; and Dems Abtal, 29—in the village of Lower Sinumaan in Talipao town. The trio are believed to be behind the spate of killings of soldiers and policemen in Jolo town.
Last Tuesday, Abu Sayyaf rebels also killed two army intelligence soldiers—Cpls. Lamustre and Apiado—in broad daylight in the village of Igasan in Patikul town. Both soldiers were also members of the 10IB who were sent to the village of Taglibi to gather intelligence about the Abu Sayyaf and its hostages.
The bandits have threatened to kill their two Canadian hostages —John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 50; and a Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad—who were kidnapped along with a Filipina, Maritess Flor, in September last year on Samal island in Davao del Norte province.