22 soldiers wounded in fresh Basilan clash Print
Sunday, 10 April 2016 14:27

At least 22 soldiers were wounded as fierce fighting broke out Saturday between the Philippine army and the IS-aligned Abu Sayyaf militant group in strife-torn Basilan island.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson for the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said in a statement the fighting erupted between troops of the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion and some 120 Abu Sayyaf gunmen in the village pf Baguindan, Tipo-tipo town around 8 a.m.

Tan said the military is still gathering more details about the fresh fighting in Basilan, one of two stronghold provinces of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf group that had recently pledged allegiance to Daesh. The other Abu Sayyaf bastion is Sulu where they are holding several foreign hostages  including two Canadians, a Norwegian, 10 Indonesian and four Malaysian sailors.

Richard Falcatan, radio station manager of  dxNO based in Basilan confirmed that latest clash with the Abu Sayyaf where the wounded included a senior army officer.

Falcatan quoted residents as saying they saw troops movement from Isabela City in Basilan to Tipo-Tipo where the encounter raged till almost noon.

Helicopter took off mid morning from the Edwin Andrew Air Base in nearby Zamboanga City and flew to Basilan, then returning to base after evacuating the wounded soldiers and providing air support  to ground troops.