MANILA — Joint Task Force Sulu commander, Col. Allan Arrojado, in a message to the PNA, announced that the number of fatalities in the clash between government security troops and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits in Talipao town, Sulu has now climbed to 15 with wounded combatants placed at 58.
This can be broken down into 10 killed for the ASG bandits and five for the military.
Wounded was placed at 28 for the government side and 30 for the bandits.
Arrojado said that they already have the identities of the seven out of the 10 ASG killed and 18 out of the 30 brigands wounded in the battle.
He identified three of the bandit fatalities as Hairullah Asbang, an Abu Sayyaf sub-commander; Hamer Absara and Beting Jakka, the latter is the brother-in-law of ASG leader Radullon Sahiron.
Arrojado said that they are still verifying the names of the remaining fatalities and wounded bandits.
“All our WIA (wounded in action) and KIA (killed in action) are still at Camp Kutang Heneral Teodolfo Bautista (in Sulu). Two more WIA are still to be brought out but their wounds are minors. All three seriously wounded were airevac (airevacuated) around 10:50 p.m. (Friday),” Arrojado said in Filipino.
He added that they have finished their clearing operations around 3 a.m. Saturday after the Air Force flown its last close-air support mission.
Soldiers encountered about 300 bandits led by Sahiron in a series of clashes that lasted for five hours.
Major Edilberto Aramponi, JTG Sulu’s civil-military operations officer, said the first clash in Barangay Bud Bunga started 1:50 p.m. and another erupted 4:30 p.m.
Elements of the elite Army Scout Rangers’ 3rd Battalion, numbering about 150, met the Abu Sayyaf twice and the bandits used grenade launchers, he added.
“There were other units present in the operation like the 35th Infantry Battalion and the Marines but it was the Scout Rangers who bear the brunt of the contact,” Aramponi said in Filipino.
He added that all military fatalities are from the Scout Rangers.