ZAMBOANGA CITY – Security forces were deployed in Basilan to pursue Abu Sayyaf militants who raided a village in the restive Muslim province, an Army spokesman said.
Captain Jo-ann Petinglay of the Western Mindanao Command said troops would not stop in the hunt for militants, blamed by authorities for the spate of deadly attacks in the province.
She said at least nine people were reported dead in the attack in Maluso town on August 21. The raid also left at least 9 people injured. 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 the village of Tubigan. One victim, Marcelino Ramos, 31, said the attackers were members of ISIS.
Petinglay said pro-government militias and soldiers from the 68th Infantry Battalion clashed with the militants who were forced to withdraw, but not after they burned at least 5 houses and a multi-purpose hall.
She said prior to the raid, troops captured on Aug. 19 an Abu Sayyaf encampment in Mangalut village in Akbar town where militants assembled improvised explosives. The area, she added, was being used by militant leader Nurhassan Jamiri.
Soldiers also recovered assorted materials in the manufacture of improvised explosives, including rifle magazines, cell phones, batteries and solar panels.
Troops pursuing militants, who escaped the military raid, caught up with them the next day and killed 3 gunmen – Omar Abdurahim, Kahim Jovel Indanan and Ekram Alam – in the fighting. At least 5 others, Abduhari Kabus, Boy Idris, Hasan Kabus, Mammang and Jaber Sali, were also wounded in the clash but managed to escape.