Abu Sayyaf killed in clash with troops in Patikul

Roel Pareño - Philstar.com
Abu Sayyaf killed in clash with troops in Patikul
Satellite image of Patikul town in Sulu.
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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — An Abu Sayyaf member was killed in a firefight with troops on Monday morning as the military intensified its hunt for the terror group in the hinterlands of Patikul town, Sulu.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., chief of the military Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the encounter was a result of mounting operations against the Abu Sayyaf group.

"We are maximizing our capabilities to address the Abu Sayyaf and the different security challenges in our area of operation," Vinluan said.

The firefight happened when troops from the 45th Infantry Battalion encountered 30 Abu Sayyaf members about 9 a.m. in Barangay Maligay, said Lt. Col. Alaric Delos Santos, spokesman of Westmincom.

He said the troops were combing the hinterlands of Patikul when they crossed paths with the Abu Sayyaf.

Delos Santos said a heavy firefight ensued for 50 minutes before the Abu Sayyaf group retreated, bringing with them an undetermined number of casualties.

Lt. Col. Reuben Guinolbay, 45th IB commanding officer, said his force launched a pursuit operation and scoured the encounter site to find the body of a slain Abu Sayyaf member, war materiel and personal belongings.

"The enemies possibly incurred more casualties as evident in the bloodstains scampered in the encounter site," Guinolbay said. "Our troops are still in hot pursuit of the fleeing bandits.”

Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS) and the 11th Infantry Division, said they have degraded the strength of the Abu Sayyaf group and prevented the terrorists from staging terror attacks.

"We degraded the terrorists' manpower and capability to carry out their hostile plans and we continue to sustain the momentum to constrict their movements," Gonzales said.

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