A MEMBER of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was killed and two soldiers were wounded in a firefight in the hinterlands of Sulu, a top military official announced Thursday.
Colonel Alan Arrojado, Joint Task Group Sulu commander, said the firefight broke out around 10:45 a.m. Thursday in the village of Sawaki, Indanan while the troops were in pursuit of Abu Sayyaf bandits.
Arrojado said prior to the firefight, the troops from the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion have recovered two unregistered motorcycles that were abandoned by Abu Sayyaf bandits upon sensing the troops’ arrival in the village of Sawaki.
Arrojado said the firefight broke out as troops, led by Major Ibni Saddama, chanced upon more or less 30 Abu Sayyaf bandits as they pursued the bandits who abandoned the motorcycles.
Arrojado said the slain ASG member, who remain unidentified, was a follower of ASG sub-leader Jul Aksan alias Halimao.
He said the wounded soldiers, who belong to the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion, were taken to the Trauma Hospital at Camp General Bautista.
He said Abu Sayyaf bandits that figured in the firefight scampered to different directions as the troops outmaneuvered them.
He said blocking positions were established following report that some 70 Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Alhabsy Misaya and Alden Bagade were planning to reinforce the group of Aksan.
The troops have discovered a hastily abandoned camp of the bandits around 1:10 p.m. in the village of Sawaki, Indanan, he said.
He added that the Scout Ranger Battalion troops were scouring the hinterlands when they discovered the abandoned camp that has 117 bunkers, four kitchens, and four latrines that can accommodate more or less 300 persons.
There were indications that the camp was abandoned few hours before the troops arrived in the area, according to Arrojado.