Abu fighting resumes in Basilan: 5 reported killed PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 11:28

Three soldiers and two militiamen were reported to have been killed while three others were wounded in clashes with Abu Sayyaf Tuesday morning as fighting resumed outside three towns liberated by Philippines troops in the troubled island province of Basilan.

dxN0 radio station manager Richard Falcatan quoted Basilan Governor Jim Saliman as saying that three soldiers and a mlitiaman  died when fighting with the Abu Sayyaf broke out in the village of Dugaa, Tuburan town where the militant group reportedly fled after government troops captured at least three of their hilltop strongholds in Tipo-Tipo town last week.

Aside, from Tipo-Tipo, soldiers, aided by artillery fire and airstrikes, liberated the nearby towns of Albarka and Unkaya Pukan.

No other details given on the Tuburan gunbattle.

Falcatan said a second encounter Tuesday left another militia volunteer dead and three companions wounded in Sumisip town, where the militant group sought refuge after a month-long military offensive in the towns of Tipo-Tipo, Albarka and Unkaya Pukan.

Quoting a report received by Governor Saliman, Falcatan said volunteers Andong Uyung and Nas Baruela proceeded to the village of Ettub-Ettub to verify an Information that Abu Sayyaf gunmen were cited there. While approaching near the residence of  another volunteer Ikki Gogong which is more than  a kilometer from the highway, they were fired upon the Daesh-linked group under Pasil Bayali.

Gogong was killed, while Uyung, Baruela and a third volunteer were wounded.

The military however said only one soldier died while three others were wounded in an encounter Barangay Dugaa, Tuburan.

Based on early reports that reached the Basilan Crisis Management Committee (CMC), four were killed from the government side, including three Army Special Forces and a member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU). Names of the slain soldiers have yet to be verified on ground.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said troops from the Joint Task Force Basilan (JTFB) were pounding the Abu Sayyaf group since Tuesday morning.

“We have yet to determine the casualties on the Abu Sayyaf group,” Tan said. “As of press time firefight is ongoing,” Philippine Star quoted Tan as saying.

He said the 3rd Air Division were directed to conduct air evacuation mission for the wounded soldiers.

The naval forces also conducted a blockade on the coastal area of Tuburan to prevent the Abu Sayyaf bandits from escaping by the sea.

“All out military offensives are ongoing to neutralize the Abu Sayyaf group responsible for the series of atrocities in the province of Basilan,” Tan said.