ZAMBOANGA CITY — The death toll of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits in the latest firefight with government troops in Sulu has increased to seven, a Navy official said Saturday.
Three ASG bandits were reported killed in the firefight that happened on Thursday on Minis Island, Patikul, according to Rear Adm. Rene Medina, Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) command chief.
Medina said the deaths of the other four ASG bandits were confirmed when the troops scoured the clash site after the fighting ended hours later.
Medina said that a soldier was killed while three others were wounded during the firefight. They belong to the 62nd Marine Company of the Philippine Marine Ready Force-Sulu.
The wounded and the only casualty on the government side were taken to a military hospital in Jolo, Sulu and later transferred to a similar facility in this city.
Medina said the firefight broke out when the Marine troops swooped down the position of some 50 ASG bandits at a mangrove area on Minis Island.
Three ships that included a patrol craft, a landing craft, and a multi-purpose attack craft, with elite troop aboard were involved in the 2:25 a.m. operation.
Medina said 10 people, who happened to be at the clash site at that time, surrendered to the troops. Several firearms and other war materials were also recovered from the clash site.
“The neutralization of these ASGs was a result of the commitment and continued monitoring activity of the government troops in the Western Mindanao Area of Responsibility,” the navy official said. (PNA)