US soldiers hold memorial service for 2 comrades, Pinoy
- Roel Pareño () - October 4, 2009 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY , Philippines  – American forces under the US Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) held yesterday a memorial service for two fallen comrades and a Filipino Marine who died from a landmine explosion in Sulu.

US Ambassador Kristie Kenney flew in to lead the solemn service held in private at the JSOTF-P base in the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).

“I want to console the families of the soldiers, one of them was a father of five children, and the other with a wife, but they are all sons and brothers to me,” Kenney said. “So I want to be here to console our team who lost lives.”

“We want to remember the two who died. Gen. (Benjamin) Dolorfino joined us as well because there (was a) Philippine Marine who died as well,” Kenney said. Dolorfino is the Westmincom chief.

Only one Filipino soldier died in the attack last Sept. 29 and two others were injured.

Abu Sayyaf terrorists were believed responsible for the attack in Barangay Kagay, Indanan town.

Kenney stressed that the recent attack will not deter her government from pursuing humanitarian projects in Sulu.

“We are incredibly sad as you are. I think for all of us it’s been an emotional week between floods and… so many people suffered this week, but the point that brings us back is the work for the rest of us to do to make life better,” Kenney said.

“The humanitarian work absolutely has to go on – schools, roads and wells,” she added.

Meanwhile, Dolorfino announced the deployment of a Marine battalion in Sulu in response to fresh waves of attacks by the combined Abu Sayyaf Group and the Malik Group.

Dolorfino said the Marine Maneuver Battalion came from Basilan.

“We deployed our Marine Maneuver Battalion to secure Jolo town from possible attack by the Abu Sayyaf and the Malik lawless group,” Dolorfino said.

The military said former MNLF commander Ustadz Habir Malik teamed with the Abu Sayyaf in launching the recent attack in Sulu that killed two US soldiers.

“I no longer consider him as Commander Malik of MNLF but a Malik lawless group,” Dolorfino said.

Dolorfino maintained that majority of the MNLF members in the province continue to abide by the 1996 peace accord with the government.

It was also Malik and his group who held Dolorfino and his group of eight government officials in 2007 in an MNLF camp in Panamao while visiting the province.

On Thursday, Malik’s group and the Abu Sayyaf assaulted a command post of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-11 in Barangay Bitan-ag, Panamao town, killing a Marine Force Recon officer, 1Lt. Carlo Magno Sureta, and wounding nine other troopers. Three Abu Sayyaf bandits were also killed as the Marines repulsed the attack.

The attack came days after Malik and his men tried to blow up a bridge in Indanan town.            – With Jaime Laude

ABU SAYYAF ABU SAYYAF AND THE MALIK ABU SAYYAF GROUP AND THE MALIK GROUP AMBASSADOR KRISTIE KENNEY ATTACK BARANGAY BITAN DOLORFINO KENNEY MALIK MARINE MANEUVER BATTALION
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