MANILA — Two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits were killed while six troopers from the Joint Task Group Basilan were wounded in a clash with the brigands in Barangay Kuhon, Al Barka, Basilan Sunday morning.
Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief, said the encounter also resulted in the rescue of five civilians being held hostage by the ASG.
The firefight started 5: 45 a.m. and lasted for seven hours, he added.
Also wounded were two ASG bandits.
“The AFP commends the troops of Joint Task Group Basilan for rescuing five innocent civilians who were shot by Abu Sayyaf bandits as they retreated in the running gun battle with government troops in Barangay Kuhon, Al Barka, Basilan starting at 5:45 a.m. today,” Cabunoc stressed,
A company of soldiers (around 100 personnel) engaged the ASG bandits led by a certain Bashir Kasaran in a seven-hour firefight resulting to the killing of two bandits and the wounding of two others.
The six wounded are now in stable condition after being treated in a hospital in Isabela City.
“The AFP and Philippine National Police are relentlessly pursuing the bandits in Basilan province in collaboration with the local government and in coordination with other stakeholders, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front communities,” Cabunoc said.
“We also commend the heroic pilots of MG MD-520 attack helicopter that was hit by enemy fire while providing close air support to the ground troops which were swarmed by the bandits,” he added.
The AFP public affairs office chief also said that the military will not allow the lawless elements to hamper the development projects and other peace initiatives in the province of Basilan and the rest of Mindanao.