Number of Abus dead in Basilan clash now at 18 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 11:12

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday announced that the number of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits killed in the April 11 clash with military units at the boundaries of Unkaya Pukan and Tipo-Tipo towns, Basilan has now climbed to 18.

As this developed, the number of bandits wounded in the fighting has now climbed to 14, AFP spokesperson Major Gen. Domingo Tutaan, Jr., said.

He added that two soldiers were killed, while 31 others were wounded in the fighting which broke out at 2:25 a.m. Friday.

Tutaan said this information came from Western Mindanao Command head Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero

“They received reports about several casualties from the ASG. I have talked to him (Guerrero). The reports state that 18 of the ASGs died and 14 were wounded. These are all reports they (have) received from the ground,” he added.

The AFP spokesperson, however, said that they are still to recover bodies of the ASG slain in the encounter.

He attributes this to the Muslim custom of retrieving the bodies of their slain companions and burying them immediately.

Tutaan added that the Western Mindanao Command is still continuing its effort against the ASG specifically in the Tipo-Tipo and Al-Barka, Basilan, areas which are known enclaves of the Abu Sayyaf militants.

The AFP spokesperson also denied reports that Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters reinforced the ASG during the encounter.

“That is not true, the MILF has not acted (this way), in fact Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez of the 104th Infantry Brigade is in close coordination with the (MILF) 114th Base Command as they pursue the ASGs,” he added.

Tutaan placed the number of remaining ASG bandits at around 400, of which 25 are under the command of Furuji Indama.

The firefight broke out around 2:25 a.m. after the military encountered ASG men under Puruji Indama, Isnilon Hapilon and Nur Hassan Jamiri in Sitio Pansul, Barangay Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo town.

Joint elements of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion, Joint Special Operations Unit 2 (JSOU2), and 18th Infantry Battalion were conducting operations to arrest Indama when they engaged the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic militants.

The operation was launched in response to reports Indama’s group threatened and tried to extort P5 million from the contractor of the ongoing Magkawa-Al Barka Road project in the province.