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6 soldiers killed in clash with Abu Sayyaf supporters

The 64th and 68th Infantry battalions sent troops to reinforce the 18th, which had been engaged by an armed group supportive of the Abu Sayyaf. File photo
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — At least six soldiers were killed and four others were wounded in an encounter against Abu Sayyaf sympathizers in Sumisip town in Basilan on Thursday.
Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command, said soldiers from the 18th Infantry Battalion were advancing on Abu Sayyaf militants under Siar Alhamsirol and Parong Tedi at Barangay Upper Cabengbeng past noon on Thursday when an armed group engaged them near the Basilan Circumferential Road.
"As they edged towards the circumferential road, operating troops were met with heavy fire by lawless elements believed to be relatives and sympathizers of the Abu Sayyaf bandits," Col. Juvymax Uy, commander of Joint Task Force Basilan and of the 104th Infantry Brigade, said.
The 64th and 68th Infantry battalions sent troops to reinforce the 18th in four hours of fighting that also left an undetermined number of casualties among the Abu Sayyaf and their sympathizers. 
Troops managed to retrieve the remains of their fallen comrades. The bodies were claimed by next of kin in Zamboanga City, where the remains were flown after the clash.
The wounded were brought to the headquarters of the 64th Infantry Battalion and airlifted to hospitals in Zamboanga City.
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