TWO members of a community peacekeeping team and an Abu Sayyaf bandit were killed in a firefight in the hinterlands of Basilan province on Friday, a military official reported.
Colonel Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, said the firefight ensued shortly before 11 a.m. Friday at Sitio Bohe Kirey in the village of Dugaa, Tuburan town.
Uy said government troopers and members of Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) were on security patrol when they encountered around 20 Abu Sayyaf bandits.
A 20-minute gunfight ensued resulting to the death of Abu Sayyaf member Hassan Apino and two BPAT members, whose identities were not immediately known.
The rest of the bandits fled to different directions and are now being pursued by the troops.
Colonel Uy said it was same bandit group involved in the November 10, 2016 hijacking of the Vietnamese bulk carrier off Basilan waters.
The Basilan-based Abu Sayyafs are still holding captive five Vietnamese crew members of the hijacked carrier.
One of the six Vietnamese sailors escaped last month at the height of military airstrike.
The bulk carrier was traveling to Davao City when the Abu Sayyaf bandits, aboard on a speed boat, hijacked the vessel.