MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Friday night launched an air strike against suspected Abu Sayyaf groups in Patikul, Sulu.
Joint Task Group Sulu (JTGS) commander Col. Allan Arrojado said that the attack focused on the alleged hideouts of Abu Sayyaf subcommander Jul Mundi Asman Sawadjaan, a certain Commander Ikit and bandit group chieftain Radullan Sahiron at Sitio Datag Kan Masarin, Barangay Buhanginan in Patikul.
“The three Abu Sayyaf groups of around 200 men were consolidating in the area when our attack helicopters hit them at about 9:30 p.m.,” Arrojado said.
Last week, the military also targeted the bandits’ position twice in Patikul using a rocket fire from attack helicopters.
Arrojado shared that one member of the Abu Sayyaf was killed during the evening air raid on Friday. His body was returned back to his family in Barangay Bud Bunga in Talipao town yesterday.
He also said that Modja is a known follower of another Abu Sayyaf sub-leader named Arod Wahing. His group is also operating in Bud Bunga, Talipao. Likewise, the group of Sahiron, Ikit and Sawadjaan were already planning their escape plan from Patikul to Indanan before the air strike happened.
Aside from the casualty on the part of the Abu Sayyaf, Arrojado said that he is still waiting for updates on the result of their air operations.
“Aside from our continuing ground operations, our intent in launching the air strike is to keep them running in order to deny them their good night’s sleep which we hope would result to the lowering of their guard to pave the way for us to launch decisive ground engagement with no collateral damage,” Arrojado said.
According to authorities, the group of Sawadjaan is the same group that kidnapped German couple Stefan Victor Okonek and Henrike Dielen.