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Marines kill four more Abus in Sulu

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Marine troops have clashed with Abu Sayyaf terrorists in between Talipao and Maimbung Sulu, just a day after the body of a beheaded German hostage was recovered in Indanan Saturday afternoon.

In a statement, Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of Western Mindanao Command said the troops of the 64th Marine Company, Marine Special Operations Group under while conducting focused military operations encountered the bandits in Barangay Lumipad early Sunday morning.

She said, Colonel Cirilito Sobejana, commander  of the Joint Task Force Sulu, deployed the marines after informants reported the presence of the bandits in the area since Saturday.

"Heavy firefight erupted shortly after the marines arrived in the area about 4:30 this (Sunday) morning," she added.

After scouring the site of encounter, marines found 4 dead bodies of ASG members and recovered 7 high powered firearms (2 M16 and 2 M203).

The Abu Sayyaf terrorists immediately scampered to different directions following the fighting and immediately fled the area of encounter.

As of press time, skirmishes are still ongoing with the marines on hot pursuit operation to the fleeing Abu Sayyaf bandits, according to Petinglay.

Earlier, the military said at least 26 ISIS/Daesh-linked terrorists had been neutralized by government forces in the past two weeks since the all-out offensives against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu and Basilan.

Petinglay said confirmed on Saturday that 14 Abu Sayyaf bandits had been killed, 6 others wounded and 4 captured together with their improvized explosive components.

"The troops also discovered ASG encampments," she said.

According to her, the locals provided the information to operating troops that bandits carried with them their wounded and some were immediately buried in separate areas near the encounter sites.

She said three major armed fighting took place in Barangay (village) Palique in Indanan between soldiers of the 69th Infantry Battalion and Abu Sayyaf bandits.

The elements of 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion and the 32nd IB also engaged the ASG in another area in Indanan and its adjacent town, Patikul.

"One more encounter also occured along a Mangrove area in Barangay Darapatu, Al Barka, Basilan which allowed the troops to gain grounds in the two provinces disallowing the bandits to establish encampments in said areas," said Petinglay.

On other hand, four notorious members of the Abu Sayyaf group who were carrying improvized explosives were captured by elements of the Joint Task Force Basilan's 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion.

Caught were Hamja Ummal, Asid Abdul Pagong, Kili Alvarez Sabtal, and Hamidid Pantasan.

Troops also over ran an ASG encampment with thirty make shift bunkers and sixteen foxholes in the area of Sitio Bohe Buug, Barangay Macalang, Al Barka.

Galvez said the extensive combat operations have greatly narrowed the mobility corridors of the terrorist and have hindered them from hatching any terror plans.

"We are gaining grounds because of the cooperation and support of the local government units and the different sectors of society and the swift reaction of troops to reports from civilians as to ASG members whereabouts," he said.

"The command will not stop until these bandits can no longer bring terror to the communities. We will hit them hard until they surrender and decide to return to the folds of the government."

The military launched fresh offensives against the Abu Sayyaf following the beheading of Jurgen Kantner, 70, last Feb. 26.

The German was beheaded after the group’s demand for P30 million was not met.

The Abu Sayyaf terrorists have been kidnapping foreigners and locals for decades and holding them for ransom in the southern jungles.

They are believed to still hold at least 31 hostages. Twelve of them are Vietnamese nationals, 7 Indonesians, 6 Filipinos, 5 Malaysians and a Dutch.

The Abu Sayyaf Group has pledged allegiance to Daesh, which has endorsed Isnilon Hapilon, one of the terror group's key leaders, as "emir" for southeast Asia. -- Hader Glang




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