Army captain among dead in Basilan clash PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 December 2015 13:59

A company commander, with the rank of captain, was among the three soldiers killed during the operation at Barangay Macalang, Albarka, Basilan which resulted in the killing of 15 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) guerrillas and the wounding of seven other militants.

Operations started Monday and was still ongoing Wednesday  with government forces overrunning a major Abu Sayyaf base in the area.

This was confirmed by Major Filemon Tan, Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, Wednesday.

However, he did not give the name of the fallen officer and two fatalities pending notification of their next-of-kin.

Military wounded in the operation was placed at 13.

All government casualties will be given medals and commendations, Tan added.

Abu Sayyaf casualty reports are based on intelligence reports, he stressed.

The Western Mindanao Command spokesperson said focused military operations would continue with other units relieving exhausted formations.

Units involved in the offensive include troopers from the 104th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion, 4th Special Forces Battalion, Marine Special Operations Group, and 12th Light Armor Cavalry.

It was aimed at reducing the Abu Sayyaf presence in the area.

Fighting between security forces and the Abu Sayyaf has been ongoing for three days following orders by President Benigno Aquino III to intensify military operations against the group.

The directive came after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called upon authorities to take action in mid-November after a Malaysian national kidnapped from a seaside town in the country was beheaded in the southern Philippine island province of Sulu – another Abu Sayyaf stronghold.

The group — based primarily out of Sulu and Basilan – is believed to still be holding around eight hostages, including foreigners of Dutch, Canadian, Norwegian and Italian nationality.

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf — armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles — has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.