TWO policemen were wounded when Abu Sayyaf bandits attacked them while they were escorting a group of teachers in a car pool towards their assigned schools in Patikul, Sulu.

Brigadier General Marni Marcos, director of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Police Regional Office, said Corporal Angelo Canapi and Patrolman Nijar Awwalon were conducting routine security for the car pool when they were attacked around 7:45 a.m. in Barangay Igasan.

Major Arvin John Encinas, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesperson, said a 10-minute clash ensued as the policemen returned fire and engaged the Abu Sayyaf bandits in a firefight.

He said troops from the patrol base in Igasan could not provide reinforcements because the bandits also opened fire at them as they fled.

Encinas said another 10-minute firefight ensued as the reinforcing Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) members from Kan Ague village encountered the Abu Sayyaf bandits, who were fleeing towards the hinterlands of Patikul in the south.

Canapi and Awwalon were brought to the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) in Sulu, but were transferred to KHTB Station Hospital in Barangay Busbus, Jolo, Sulu.

Marcos said he has ordered an investigation to identify the perpetrators.

For his part, PNP spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac commended the two policemen.

“The PNP recognizes the exemplary performance of two cops Corporal Angelo Canapi and Patrolman Nijar Awwalon, both of 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Coy, Sulu Police Provincial Office, who performed their task amid heavy volume of fire,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)