Death toll in in Sulu fighting rises to 15 PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 November 2014 14:48

58 others wounded

 

The number of Abu Sayyaf guerrillas and soldiers killed in heavy fighting in Talipao, Sulu starting Friday has climbed to 15, while wounded combatants were placed at 58.

Joint Task Force Sulu commander Col. Allan Arrojado said 10 Abu Sayyaf gunmen and five soldiers were killed in the first engagement the government forces had with the militant group since the so-called law enforcement operation was launched after the release of the two German tourists recently.

Wounded casualties on both sides are — 28 for the government side and 30 for the ASG.

Arrojado said they already have the identities of the seven out of the 10 ASGs killed and 18 out of the 30 wounded in the battle.

He identified three of the Abu Sayyaf fatalities as Hairullah Asbang, an Abu Sayyaf sub-commander; Hamer Absara and Beting Jakka. The latter is the brother-in-law of ASG leader Radullon Sahiron.

Arrojado said they are still verifying the names of the remaining fatalities and wounded militants.

“All our WIA (wounded in action) and KIA (killed in action) are still at Camp Kutang Heneral Teodolfo Bautista (in Sulu). Two more WIA are still to be brought out but their wounds are minors. All three seriously wounded were airevac (airevacuated) around 10:50 p.m. (Friday),” Arrojado said in Filipino.

He added that they have finished their clearing operations around 3 a.m. Saturday after the Air Force flown its last close-air support mission.

Soldiers encountered about 300 ASG gunmen led by Sahiron in a series of clashes that lasted for five hours.

Major Edilberto Aramponi, JTG Sulu’s civil-military operations officer, said the first clash in Barangay Bud Bunga started 1:50 p.m. and another erupted 4:30 p.m.

Soldiers of the elite Army Scout Rangers’ 3rd Battalion, numbering about 150, met the Abu Sayyaf twice and the latter used grenade launchers, he added.

“There were other units present in the operation like the 35th Infantry Battalion and the Marines but it was the Scout Rangers who bear the brunt of the contact,” Aramponi said in Filipino.

He added that all military fatalities are from the Scout Rangers.