15 Abus killed in Sulu hostage rescue operation

(The Philippine Star) - August 19, 2015 - 10:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – At least 15 Abu Sayyaf militants were killed when government forces launched an offensive yesterday to rescue kidnap victims in the jungles of Sulu, a senior military commander said.

Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu (JTGS), said troops clashed with a big number of Abu Sayyaf men at 5:25 p.m. in Sitio Marang, Barangay Buanza, Indanan town.

He said the area was within the periphery of a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) stronghold where fugitive chieftain Nur Misuari is believed to be staying.

Misuari was supposed to attend a meeting with the government in Indanan in preparation for a tripartite meeting sponsored by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Manila next month. He called off the meeting after being informed of the troop buildup and suspicions that he was about to be arrested.

“The troops were conducting military operations to rescue kidnap victims,” Arrojado said.

He said soldiers from the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion (SRB) under Lt. Col. Eugene Boquio encountered about 100 Abu Sayyaf members led by two sub-leaders identified as Yasser Igasan and Alhabsy Misaya.

The 8th Fire Artillery Battalion launched artillery strikes against a bigger group of Abu Sayyaf to support the Army Rangers.

Arrojado said based on ground reports, 15 Abu Sayyaf men were initially killed in the attack.

Troops recovered three high-powered firearms.

Arrojado said additional troops were mobilized and reinforced the 1st SRB – the 35th Infantry Brigade from the south, the 2nd Marine Brigade from the southwest and 32nd IB from the west  – to prevent MNLF forces from joining the fray and helping the Abu Sayyaf.

Troops and police from Indanan were also placed on standby at the detachment in Barangay Buanza, Arrojado said.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding 11 hostages, five of them foreigners – a Dutch, Malaysian, Cambodian, South Korean and Japanese – in the jungles of Sulu.

Fighting continued to rage last night.

In nearby Basilan last Tuesday, patrolling soldiers ran into a band of Abu Sayyaf fighters, sparking two days of clashes that left five bandits and a soldier dead, the military reported.

Last week, the decapitated body of a village official kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf was found in Jolo.

                       

ABU ABU SAYYAF ALAN ARROJADO ARMY RANGERS ARROJADO BARANGAY BUANZA EUGENE BOQUIO FIRE ARTILLERY BATTALION INDANAN NBSP SAYYAF
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