A MEMBER of the Abu Sayyaf Group who was suspected of involvement in the January 27 Jolo church bombing, and his fellow bandit were killed in an intense firefight in Sulu Monday afternoon, April 8.
Three soldiers were wounded in the same clash, said Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo Jr., Joint Task Force Sulu commander.
Pabayo said they were also verifying information that a “high value Abu Sayyaf sub-leader is missing and probably dead.”
“This is subject to the clearing and pursuit operations of our troops right now,” he added.
Pabayo said fighting between the Abu Sayyaf and troops from the Army’s 41st Infantry Battalion broke out around 3:45 p.m. Monday in the village of Bangkal in Patikul, Sulu.
The soldiers were on combat operation when they clashed with some 40 Abu Sayyaf bandits under sub-leader Almujer Yada.
Pabayo said the firefight, “supported by indirect fires and close-air support,” lasted for 40 minutes.
Those killed were identified as Barak Ingog and Nasser Sawajaan.
Pabayo said Ingog was one of the facilitators of the January 27 twin bombing of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu, which killed 20 people and wounded around 80 others.
Among the dead and wounded were uniformed men assigned to secure the church.
Sawajaan was the nephew of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawajaan.
Pabayo said the troops recovered an M-16 Armalite rifle and personal belongings from Ingog.