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Troops, Abu Sayyaf clash in Basilan

Roel Pareño (Philstar.com) - August 23, 2016 - 4:46pm

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - Fierce fighting erupted between the government forces and the Abu Sayyaf group Tuesday in Basilan.

According to the military, one soldier died while three others were wounded in an encounter which sparked around 10:20 a.m. at Barangay Dugaa, Tuburan town.

Based on early reports that reached the Basilan Crisis Management Committee (CMC), four were killed from the government side, including three Army Special Forces and a member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU). Names of the slain soldiers have yet to be verified on ground.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said troops from the Joint Task Force Basilan (JTFB) were pounding the Abu Sayyaf group since Tuesday morning.

“We have yet to determine the casualties on the Abu Sayyaf group,” Tan said. “As of press time firefight is ongoing.”

He said the 3rd Air Division were directed to conduct air evacuation mission for the wounded soldiers. 

The naval forces also conducted a blockade on the coastal area of Tuburan to prevent the Abu Sayyaf bandits from escaping by the sea.

“All out military offensives are ongoing to neutralize the Abu Sayyaf group responsible for the series of atrocities in the province of Basilan,” Tan said. 

Meanwhile, a suspected Abu Sayyaf member was killed while two others, including a young girl, were injured in another encounter in Sumisip town.

The police reported that members of the village watchmen of Barangay Peace Action Team (BPAT) encountered the militant past 12 noon at Barangay Etub-Etub.

Police identified the slain suspect as a certain Daimon, alleged member of the Abu Sayyaf group. 

Those wounded include the victim’s young daughter Amida Hamid Daimon, who was hit by a stray bullet coming from M16 rifle, and Andun Uyung, a BPAT member. 

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