GOVERNMENT troops have killed a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and 34 others were arrested following a firefight in the island province of Sulu, a top military official announced Thursday.
Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) Chief Carlito Galvez, Jr. said that a soldier was also wounded during the firefight that took place around 4 a.m., Wednesday, April 19, in the village of Danag, Patikul, Sulu.
Galvez said the firefight broke out as the ASG members, who were reportedly involved in illegal drug trade, opened fire upon seeing the arriving troops.
Galvez said the firefight resulted to the death of an Abu Sayyaf member who was identified only as a certain Jah, a follower of bandit sub-leader Hairulla Asbang.
Galvez said the troops retrieved the remains of Asbang after the clearing operations.
He said the wounded soldier, whose identity was not released, was taken to the Camp General Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in the village of Busbus, Jolo, Sulu.
He added that the wounded soldier is already in stable condition.
He said the 34 suspected Abu Sayyaf members were arrested in the area of the firefight.
They were placed under investigation for their “possible involvement in drug operations and in any lawlessness.”
The troops also seized an M-16 Armalite rifle, three caliber .45 pistols, five hand grenades, and illegal drug paraphernalia.
Galvez said the apprehended persons and seized firearms were subsequently brought to the Sulu Provincial Police Office for investigation and documentation.
“This development can somehow prove that the Abu Sayyaf bandits involved themselves in drug trade to sustain their operations against the government and the conduct of their terror attacks, and they may have been funded by drug syndicates who support their schemes,” Galvez said.
However, he assured that they will continue to conduct combat operations against the terrorist group and work with the local government and other law enforcement agencies in the fight against the proliferation of illegal drugs “in this side of the country.” (SunStar Philippines)