Derechos | Equipo Nizkor
5 killed, 7 wounded in troops, ASG clashes
Security forces continued their hot pursuit on Monday against a band of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) after fierce clashes with Philippine Marines killed five bandits and wounded seven soldiers in Bud Bawis of Panamao, Sulu on Sunday.
Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) spokesman, said the troops, belonging to Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 (MBLT3), were in continuing search and rescue operations for the remaining kidnap victims when they encountered about 30 ASG bandits.
Petinglay said the MBLT3 soldiers conducted the operation on Saturday after receiving information that the group of ASG sub-leader Sansibar Bensio and Hatib Munap Binda were hiding in the area with their kidnap victims.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said: "Our troops were very careful because we believe there were kidnap victims with the Abus, however, the bandits fired at our Marines first."
The bandits were forced to withdraw and escape carrying some of their wounded companions.
Soldiers found four dead bodies and an M14 rifle at the encounter site but witnesses said another bandit died while the Sayyafs were fleeing.
The wounded soldiers were evacuated to a hospital but Petinglay did not reveal their condition.
Military records show that Bensio is on the list of ASG sub-leaders operating in the towns of Panamao, Omar and Luuk.
He was only identified as ASG sub-group leader in February 2017 and was monitored to be operating with the group of the slain Alhabsy Misaya who was involved in the kidnapping and safekeeping of kidnap victims, including the Indonesian hostages who were released in 2016.
[Source: By Al Jacinto, The Manila Times, Zamboanga City, 13Feb18]
Islamic paramilitary organizations
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