MANILA, Philippines -- Forces of the Philippine military and Abu Sayyaf bandits continue fighting in an encounter that started 5 a.m. today in Indanan, Sulu, a day after the alleged death of the latter’s leader Albader Parad, reports said.
Lt. Col. Leonardo Teodoro, an official of the Joint Task Force Comet, said the bandits persist on claiming the body of Parad, who was reported to be either injured or killed yesterday after getting shot by a government sniper.
Reports added that several of Parad’s men also got hit when they tried to retrieve the bandit leader’s body.
Yesterday’s encounter occurred when Parad’s group reportedly attempted to break out from a village being cordoned by the military.
Teodoro said military forces are still in the process of verifying Parad’s death and ensuring the safety of the three International Red Cross workers the bandits were holding hostage.
Parad's group has held hostages Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni since January 15.
Teodoro added that the hostages may be rescued within this day.