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Troops kill 2 Abus, hurt 6 others in firefight

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Government troops killed two Abu Sayyaf members and wounded six others in a series of encounters that erupted midday Tuesday in the far-flung areas of Sumisip, Basilan, a ground military commander said Wednesday.

The military said pursuing troops also recovered an improvised explosive device (IED) planted by the Abu Sayyaf group in an old school building in Barangay Baiwas, an area near the scene of the firefight on the same day. The IED was fashioned through spent shells of 40-millimeter M203 grenade launchers. The troops recovered other assorted high-powered firearms.

Col. Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the Basilan-base army’s 104th Brigade, said initial firefight erupted about 11 a.m. when the troops encountered 25 militants under Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Juhaibel Alamsirul alias Abu Kik.

The firefight that ensued for 15 minutes left one of the Abu Sayyaf members seriously wounded, prompting the militants to retreat toward the adjacent Barangay Baiwas.

Bautista said a pursuit operation was launched against the escaping Abu Sayyaf group. However, after more than an hour the soldiers were met by the Abu Sayyaf sniper’s fire in the border of Pamatsaken-Baiwas area.

The soldiers conducted counter-sniping operation while creeping their way to clear the Abu Sayyaf position.

Bautista said 30 minutes later the troops clashed with more than 50 Abu Sayyaf militants triggering two hours of intense firefight.

He said the group of Alamsirul was reinforced by Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Radzmil Janatul alias Khubayb.

The military dispatched two MG520 attack helicopters that provided airstrike while artillery bombardment was also delivered toward the Abu Sayyaf positions.

The intense military attack forced the Abu Sayyaf group to retreat towards the jungle to seek cover while escaping while troops continued the pursuit operation.

Reports from the Joint Task Group Zambasulta under Rear Admiral Reynaldo Yoma identified the two slain Abu Sayyaf members as Sandatan and Usop Balaman, while those wounded were Naim and Ammeng Alamsirul, both brothers of Abu Sayyaf leader Juhaibel Alamsirul alias Abu Kik, Ongget Ladjaman and alias Mahdar Saatan, both followers of Janatul, while the two others were unidentified.

The soldiers recovered the bodies slain militants and two M16 assault rifles.

The military official said the group which the troops encountered was the same group responsible for the ambush and killing of six soldiers, including 2Lt. Jun Corpuz, last November. The troops were providing road security for the completion of the Basilan circumferential road.

ABU ABU KIK ABU SAYYAF BARANGAY BAIWAS BASILAN BAUTISTA GROUP JOINT TASK GROUP ZAMBASULTA JUHAIBEL ALAMSIRUL SAYYAF TROOPS
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