Intensive combat strikes continue vs Abus in Sulu PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 03 September 2016 11:31

Massive combat operations continue in Sulu as part of the government’s move to destroy the Abu Sayyaf  in its stronghold province of Sulu.

Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo  said in press briefing Friday in Manila the ongoing operations include the use of air, artillery and naval firepower and a preponderance of combat troops which he now placed at 6,500 to 7,000 in Sulu alone.

Nine armored personnel carriers (APCs) arrived in Zamboanga City Friday on the way to Sulu to be used in the military offensive.

Arevalo said the combat troops are all under Joint Task Force Sulu and consist of Army, Air Force and Navy units.

And while combat operations have taken place in Maimbung and Indanan Thursday, no casualties have been reported on both sides, he added.

Pursuit operations are ongoing against the group as of press time.

And due to heavy military pressure, Arevalo said they have received reports that the fighters of the ISIS-linked group have splintered into smaller groups to mix with the civilian population.

While this would make it harder for the military to hunt the Abu Sayyaf, it would also make the militants more vulnerable to attacks by government forces.

Arevalo said intelligence and civil-military operations were underway to stall this Abu Sayyaf evasion tactic.

Around 15 troopers were killed and 12 others were wounded after military units clashed heavily with ASG fighters headed by Radullan Sahiron at Sitio Kan Jalul, Barangay Maligay, Patikul, Sulu last Aug. 29.

A total of 30 militants were reported to have been killed during the ongoing focused military operations against the ASG which started last week.

Eleven other militants were reported wounded in the series of clashes with government forces.

The offensive was the offshoot of the group’s brutal beheading of 18-year-old Patrick Jhames Almodavar last week.