14 Sayyaf men killed in extended fighting with gov’t troops
Roel Pareño, Alexis Romero, Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - February 27, 2015 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines  – Abu Sayyaf casualties in the protracted fighting with government troops in the mountains of Patikul, Sulu have risen to 14 killed and 19 wounded.

As fighting continued yesterday, the number of wounded soldiers also rose to 16.

Capt. Maria Rowena Muyuela, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesman, said the continuing clashes started Wednesday morning following a major military attack in the mountains of Barangay Tanum in pursuit of about 300 Abu Sayyaf fighters.

Their commander Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan was among the wounded, she added.

Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said fighting has spilled over from Barangay Tanum to the nearby barangays of Kan Jimaw, Tugas and Bakong as government troops continue to run after the fleeing Abu Sayyaf band under Sawadjaan.

“Another firefight ensued at 9:15 a.m. yesterday when the Scout Rangers spotted at least 100 bandits led by Sawadjaan,” he said. “The troops spotted more casualties on the enemy side.”

Troops chased the Abu Sayyaf toward Barangay Bakong, where police  were alerted to prevent them from mingling with residents of nearby barangays, Cabunoc said.

Muyuela said six of Sawadjaan’s slain fighters have been identified.

They are Musar Sawadjaan, believed to be a relative of the bandit leader, Berhamin Jawhari, Jani Madjid, Adzmar Muhammad, Ompoy Uran and Mussal Jawhari, she added.

Eight others from Luuk town remain unidentified, Muyuela said.

Quoting Col. Alan Arrojado, Joint Task Group Sulu commander, Muyuela said the latest fighting started at about 9 a.m. yesterday while troops were running after the fleeing Abu Sayyaf carrying their wounded.

“Camps discovered have traces of bloodstains, which indicated the Abu Sayyaf suffered heavy casualties,” she said, quoting Arrojado.

Muyuela said troops positioned on higher ground engaged the fleeing Abu Sayyaf fighters.

“The troops have actually gained the advantage in mounting the attack,” she said.

Several rounds of 105mm howitzers were also unleashed on the Abu Sayyaf after their exact location was pinpointed, Muyuela said.

The military has airlifted six of the wounded soldiers from Sulu to the military hospital in Zamboanga City for treatment.

 

 

ABU ABU SAYYAF ADZMAR MUHAMMAD ALAN ARROJADO ARMED FORCES ARMED FORCES WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND BARANGAY TANUM MUYUELA SAWADJAAN SAYYAF
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