GOVERNMENT troops pursuing the Abu Sayyaf bandits discovered the arms cache of the bandits in the hinterlands of Sulu, military officials said Thursday, March 28.
Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the arms cache was discovered on Tuesday while the troops were on security operation in Bakong village, Patikul, Sulu.
Pabayo said the arms cache consisted of a 60-milimeter mortar, two M-16 Armalite rifles, improvised explosive device (IED) components, bandolier with ammunition magazines, a tactical map, a hand-held radio transceiver, a night vision monocular and flag of the Islamic State and Iraq and Syria (Isis).
Pabayo said the focused military operations continue in a bid to track down the Abu Sayyaf bandits in the forested area of Sulu.
He said the troops clashed against 10 bandits at 5:35 p.m. Tuesday in Latih village, Patikul town while the other troops scour the other parts of the municipality.
The military official said the troops pounded with artillery the bandits, who fled following the firefight that lasted for about 30-minutes.
There was no immediate report of casualty on the side of the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said the offensives are relentlessly being launched against Abu Sayyaf bandits in their known strategic strongholds in Sulu.
“We remain resolute in crumbling terrorist groups to address security threats and to pave the way for stability in Mindanao,” Dela Vega said.
“Rest assured that we will fulfill our mandate of securing the area of responsibility by ending insurgency to pave the way for development here,” Dela Vega added. (SunStar Philippines)