Seven Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits were killed while 23 others wounded, including 17 soldiers, in a fierce firefight in the province of Sulu, the military reported Saturday.
Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the firefight broke out around 1:30 p.m. Friday in Barangay Bakong, Patikul, Sulu.
Dela Vega said the troops were on combat operations when they clashed with around 100 ASG bandits led by ASG one-armed leader Radullan Sahiron and sub-leaders Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan and Idang Susukan in Barangay Bakong.
Sahiron is the oldest among the leaders of the ASG based in the province of Sulu.
Dela Vega said the firefight resulted to the death of seven ASG bandits whose remains were recovered while six others were reported to have been wounded.
He said the troops received reports one of the six injured ASG bandits was Sawadjaan, who sustained critical injuries. They fled to different directions.
Seventeen soldiers were injured during the clash, most of them sustained shrapnel wounds. They were taken to the Camp General Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital for treatment.
Dela Vega said the cadavers of the slain ASG bandits were also taken to the same hospital for forensic examination and proper disposition.
He said the troops recovered from the clash site the following: one M-16 Armalite rifle; four magazines of caliber 5.56-millimeter ammunition; an ammunition bandolier; one touchscreen cellular phone; and, assorted war materiel and ammunition.
“I commend the troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu for this recent accomplishment,” Dela Vega said.
“All sorts of assistance will be provided to the battle casualties and our prayers are with them for their speedy recovery,” he added.
He said that troops are tracking down the rest of the ASG bandits who fled to different directions. (PNA)