Army: Abu Sayyaf using women fighters as front liners in firefights
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - February 3, 2015 - 3:09pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The Abu Sayyaf militants deployed women fighters as their front liners against the Army rangers during the Sunday encounter in the mountains of Sulu, an official said on Tuesday.

Ensign Chester Ramos, spokesman of the Joint Task Group Zambasulta, said this was revealed by one of the four wounded Army rangers who encountered the Abu Sayyaf group under the Lucky 9 faction also known as Ajang-ajang under sub-leaders Hatib Aseri and Basarun Arok.

“The wounded rangers said they were approaching their targets when they encountered armed women deployed by Abu Sayyaf as front liners and later engaged in combat the bigger group,” Ramos said, referring to the statement of the wounded Army rangers confined at the Camp Navarro General Hospital.

The fighting on late Sunday afternoon left an Army ranger killed and four others wounded when the troops clashed about 60 Abu Sayyaf militants at Bud Pula (Red Mountain) in Barangay Bungkaong, Patikul town. 

Ramos said the government forces suffered six wounded men, including two soldiers who were wounded since Friday ambush incident in Patikul. 

The presence of the female Abu Sayyaf combatants prompted government troops to be more selective and discriminate in engaging the group, he said.

Ramos said the Joint Task Group Sulu is carefully investigating the presence of the female Abu Sayyaf combatants, their number and the extent of their participation in the combat. 

The military could not ascertain if it was the first time the Abu Sayyaf deployed a bigger number of female Abu Sayyaf members as front liners as there were previous cases that soldiers were forced to neutralized female fighters during encounters.

ABU ABU SAYYAF BARANGAY BUNGKAONG BUD PULA CAMP NAVARRO GENERAL HOSPITAL ENSIGN CHESTER RAMOS HATIB ASERI AND BASARUN AROK JOINT TASK GROUP SULU JOINT TASK GROUP ZAMBASULTA RAMOS SAYYAF
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