Militiamen reinforce troops in Basilan
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - July 21, 2016 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Militiamen have been deployed to Basilan to reinforce government troops fighting Abu Sayyaf bandits. 

An official, who has know-ledge of the military operations but refused to be identified, said government forces sealed the area to prevent Abu Sayyaf supporters from slipping in food or logistics.

Basilan Gov. Jim Hataman-Saliman requested mayors and other local government officials to send members of their Citizens Armed Force Geographical Units to assist the military in the offensive.

Marines were also deployed in the coastal areas to prevent the bandits from escaping.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said the troops have to deal with sniper attacks aside from improvised explosive devices planted on the routes leading to the Abu Sayyaf stronghold.

Tan gave assurance that government troops are doing their best to ensure the hostilities will not affect more civilian communities.

The provincial government said at least 2,913 families or about 14,000 individuals in Tipo-Tipo, Al-Barka and Ungkaya Pukan towns have been displaced in the encounter, which started two weeks ago.

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