ZAMBOANGA CITY: The government forces have clashed anew with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) as law enforcement operation continues in the island province of Sulu, military officials said Thursday.
Capt. Ma. Rowena Muyuela, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) information officer, disclosed the latest skirmish erupted around 12 noon Wednesday in Sitio Bud Bunga, Barangay Pasul, Patikul, Sulu.
Muyuela said the troops from the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion under the Joint Task Group Sulu were conducting law enforcement operation encountered when they clashed with about 80 ASG bandits at Sitio Bud Bunga, Barangay Pasul, Patikul.
Muyuela said there was no reported casualty on the government side while it is believed the ASG have suffered casualties.
Fourteen ASG were killed and 19 wounded since the start of the offensive last week against them in Sulu.
Before the clash, three soldiers were killed while six others were wounded when the ASG set off an improvised bomb fashioned out as a landmine along the road linking Barangays Pansul and Panglayahan, Patikul.
Col. Alan Arrojado, Joint Task Group Sulu commander, said the soldiers were on a convoy bringing resupply provisions to the security elements tasked to secure a road project along Pansul and Panglayahan road when they tripped on a landmine.
Arrojado the troops returned fire and engaged the ASG in a firefight.
“Immediately, we sent reinforcement to the engaged troops. There were reports that the bandits suffered number of casualties as they fled from the encounter site. Our troops are pursuing them,” he added.
He said the wounded personnel were airlifted to Camp General Teodolfo Bautista Trauma Hospital in Barangay Busbus, Jolo, Sulu. PNA