2 Abu Sayyaf bandits killed in Sulu encounter
Roel Pareño, Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - February 22, 2019 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines  —  Two suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed in an encounter with government security forces in Patikul, Sulu yesterday.

Troopers of the Army’s 41st Infantry Battalion were patrolling in Barangay Tanum when they chanced upon a group of bandits, according to Col. Gerry Besana, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command.

During the height of the encounter, the military fired artillery and mortar rounds to support the troopers.

“Based on information provided by local residents, two other bandits were wounded in the firefight,” Besana said.

No one was reported killed or wounded among the government troopers.

Besana said pursuit operations were ongoing as of yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the military is trying to locate and rescue the hostages that the Abu Sayyaf threatened to execute.

Besana said the fresh threat issued by the group could be a part of the Abu Sayyaf’s efforts to press their demands in exchange for the release of the hostages.

In a video posted on social media last week, the Abu Sayyaf showed two hostages kneeling on the ground and a bandit beside them holding a bolo next to their necks.

The hostages in the video were identified as Indonesians Heri Ardiansyah, 19, and Hariadin, 45.

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