Headquarters, Western Mindanao Command, Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City- Heavy encounter ensued between operating troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu and about a hundred Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu yesterday (April 2) as the rescue operations for the kidnap victims continue.
Soldiers of the 41st Infantry Battalion were acting on an intelligence information from sources to possibly rescue the Vietnamese kidnap victims who were with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) when the firefight ensued in Barangay Upper Laus, Talipao, Sulu at around 9:30 am yesterday.
Troops were advancing towards their target when M203 rounds were directed towards them, causing shrapnel wounds to the forward flank of the operating troops. However, the soldiers were still able to maneuver and take the advantage, pushing the bandits to scamper to different directions after hours of the firefight.
After the clearing operation, reports from the Joint Task Force Sulu disclosed that the Abu Sayyaf suffered heavy casualties as focused military operations are being intensified. Bloodstains were also seen in the areas where the bandits previously positioned during the encounter.
Troops were also able to find the body of one (1) Abu Sayyaf who was killed during the firefight. His identity is yet to be known.
Meanwhile, two (2) M16 rifles belonging to the fleeing bandits were seized by the 41IB.
Close air support and casualty evacuation were being provided by the Air Force, while clearing operations were subsequently conducted by the engaged troops.
Four soldiers sustained gunshot wounds and were promptly airlifted yesterday afternoon to Zamboanga City for further medical attention. Three of the wounded soldiers were brought to the Camp Navarro General Hospital in Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City, while another soldier was brought to a private hospital in the city. The four soldiers, however, are already stable as of press time.
Twenty-eight others suffered slight splinter wounds and are currently recuperating at the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Hospital in Busbus, Jolo, Sulu.
“Our Joint Task Force Sulu continues to exhaust all efforts and means to contain the Abu Sayyaf and constrict its movement. We are continuously intensifying the conduct of focused military operations, in coordination with the local government and the people of Sulu, to rescue the kidnap victims and to neutralize the terrorist group,” said Major General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., Commander, Western Mindanao Command.
“We are confident that we can achieve this with the support of the people of Sulu and the local government.”