7 Abus killed, 17 soldierswounded in Sulu clash
Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - September 16, 2018 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY , Philippines — Seven Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed and 23 others, 17 of them soldiers, were wounded in intense fighting in Patikul, Sulu on Friday.

Government troopers brought the fatalities to a military hospital for forensic examination and disposition. 

Citing the report of Brig. Gen. Rey Divino Pabayo of the Joint Task Force Sulu, Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesman, said among those critically wounded was Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.

Besana said Sawadjaan was immediately carried away from the scene by his followers.  

The soldiers suffered shrapnel wounds when the bandits fired rifle grenades. They were taken to a military hospital at Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Barangay Bus-bus, Jolo for treatment. 

An M16 rifle, ammunition, a bandoleer, a cellular phone and war materiel were among those recovered from the slain bandits. 

Besana said around a hundred militants led by Radullan Sahiron, Indang Susukan and Sawadjaan clashed with the soldiers in Barangay Bakong at around 1:30 p.m.

Besana said pursuit as well as search and rescue operations for the remaining hostages are ongoing. A Dutch man, three Indonesians, a Vietnamese and five Filipinos are still being held by the Abu Sayyaf.

The military said it has yet to confirm reports that the Abu Sayyaf was behind the kidnapping of two Indonesian fishermen in the waters off Sabah on Tuesday. 

Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, Westmincom chief, lauded the troops, saying continuous military operations would cripple the Abu Sayyaf. 

Dela Vega gave assurance that the wounded soldiers would be provided all the necessary assistance to ensure their speedy and full recovery. – With Jaime Laude

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