ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Members of the Philippine Army 1st Scout Ranger Battalion engaged in an encounter with some members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM), the soldiers clashed with the ASG’s sub-group Ajang-Ajang under Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan in the municipality of Patikul, Sulu.
The firefight lasted for five minutes before the enemies retreated.
The military believes that the group was with alias ‘Kamah’, the primary suspect in the Jolo cathedral bombing.
“This is after the airstrikes we conducted two days or three days ago. Tuloy tuloy ito. It’s been three days now, ang airstrikes doon at saka artillery shelling. The same group iyan ang may napatay the other day, si Umal Usop,” AFP Westmincom Spokesperson Col. Gerry Besana said.
Military offensives are now focused on the area of Patikul which is a known bailiwick of the bandits.
There were no casualties on the side of the government.
Authorities, meanwhile, are ongoing with its clearing operations to verify the number of casualties on the enemies’ side.
The AFP are now holding airstrikes over enemies’ camp while ensuring the safety of the civilians.
“it is our pledge to protect the rights of all Filipinos and all human being kapag may nagkakamali sa amin kaso ang aabutin namin and we do not tolerate any and any collateral damage,” Besana concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Dante Amento)
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) expressed grief over the loss of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in an encounter between the military and elements of the Abu Sayyaf Group on Friday (April 17).
“The Officers, men and women of the Philippine National Police, under the command of PGen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, join the Filipino nation in mourning over the loss of 11 of our brothers in arms in the Armed Forces of the Philippines who offered the ultimate sacrifice in an encounter with terrorists in Sulu yesterday,” says a statement it released on Saturday through its spokesperson, PBGen. Bernard M Banac.
The country’s police force believes that the soldiers “did not die in vain -the cause they are fighting for is the lifelong commitment of all men and women in uniform who derive inspiration from the heroism of our fallen brothers to bring on the fight against the enemies of the state,” Banac said.
The official added that the PNP is extending every possible support and assistance that it can give to comfort the families of the fallen soldiers and to provide care for the wounded.
“Even as the entire government is preoccupied with response operations to address the health crisis, state security forces will continue to perform the duty to keep the country safe from terrorism and lawlessness,” Banac concluded. —mbmf
MANILA, Philippines —The Office of the President on Saturday slammed the Abu Sayyaf Group after around 40 of its members attacked the government troops in Patikul, Sulu on Friday (April 17) resulting in the death of 11 soldiers and wounding 14 others.
In a statement, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the administration condemns “in the strongest possible terms the latest incident in Patikul, Sulu, where members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) believed to be under ASG leader Radullan Sahiron and Hatib Hadjan Sawadjaan attacked government troops resulting in a firefight, which left 11 soldiers killed and 14 wounded.”
Roque noted that what happened was already the second encounter that the government troops had with the same terrorist group; the first one, on April 16, in which three soldiers were wounded.
“The Office of the President expresses its sincerest condolences to the bereaved families left behind by our brave soldiers who fought hard and paid the ultimate sacrifice to secure our community. We honor and pray for the fallen,” Roque’s statement reads.
He further noted that the enemies of the State do not choose any date and occasion and just seem to strike even at this time that the country is battling a great pandemic.
Roque, however, reiterate that this must serve as a warning to all, stressing that, “our authorities remain ready and prepared to crush the enemies of the government and quell any armed attack amid the existing state of calamity and public health emergency.” —mbmf
A member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was arrested in Zamboanga City Friday morning (January 17).
Benhajar Salapuddin Alan was arrested in a joint manhunt operation of the Sulu Police Provincial Office, Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), Police Regional Office in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and Zamboanga City Mobile Force Company.
Alan was arrested at the Zamboanga Port Authority Compound around 5:00 a.m. on Friday.
Alan is a member of the group headed by the late ASG leader Albader Parad. He is also facing murder charges and is allegedly involved in illegal drugs and ‘gun for hire’ activities in Zamboanga.
The suspect is now under the custody of the Zamboanga City Police Office.—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)
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