GOVERNMENT troops on Friday morning seized several firearms and explosives after a brief firefight with a member of the Abu Sayyaf group in a hinterland village in Basilan province, a military official said on Saturday.
Major Filemon Tan, spokesman for the military’s Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said in a statement emailed to defense reporters that the brief encounter between government troops and the bandit took place at around 10:30 a.m. in Katipunan village in Tuburan town, Basilan province.
Tan said in the statement troops of the 7th Scout Ranger Company (SRC) and of the 14th SRC and 3rd SRC were conducting a law enforcement operation when they chanced upon a suspicious-looking person in the area, a known bailiwick of the Abu Sayyaf.
Upon seeing the government troops, the person quickly drew out his firearm and fired a shot at the soldiers.
Tan said the suspicious-looking person immediately ran toward one of the houses in the village. The house’s occupants scampered toward different directions.
The military spokesman said troops conducted a pursuit operation and later, a search operation at the house and its immediate vicinity.
The search operation by government troops resulted in the seizure of several high-powered firearms, ammunition, explosives and military paraphernalia.
Recovered by government troops were one M-14 rifle, an M-16 rifle with a scope, two long magazines, eight short magazines and eighty rounds of ammunition, four rifle grenades and explosives.
Military paraphernalia recovered by government troops included two bandoliers, a binocular, a pair of combat boots and one hammock.
Tan said government troops continued to hunt members of the Abu Sayyaf to prevent them from occupying certain areas in Basilan.
The Abu Sayyaf, which have pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State, is a kidnapping and terrorist group operating in southern Philippines.
The group, estimated by the military to have 400 members, is also known for kidnapping foreign and local tourists, and beheading them.