MANILA — With military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group still ongoing in Sulu province, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday announced that the number of ASG bandits killed in the now week-long campaign has now climbed to 24 dead and another 24 wounded.
This was disclosed by AFP public affairs office chief, Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc.
Military casualty consist of two soldiers with 26 wounded.
Cabunoc said that these figures are obtained from their sources in Patikul, Sulu.
“Reports from our sources in the villages in Patikul indicate that the Abu Sayyaf Group is on the run and they are running out of ammo, even as the elite Scout Rangers are relentlessly tracking them down,” he said.
As of this posting, pursuit operations in Sitio Baunoh Butang, Barangay Buhanginan in Patikul town, Sulu is ongoing.
Earlier, AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang has ordered the military to conduct an intensified operations against the ASG in Basilan and Sulu provinces.
As this develops, Catapang stressed that he intends to use both military and non-military approaches to deal with the ASG problem.
“This is not a pure military solution to this lingering social problem. I will commit troops to relentlessly pursue the armed bandits who are hiding in the jungles. Another group of soldiers will work with the local government and non-government organizations in addressing the wide array of community issues that are also attributed to the existence of the ASG,” he said.
Catapang added that the military will involve different stakeholders in helping local government units deliver basic social services to the people.
He said that he is considering an option to send more troops to help flush out the lawless ASG group.
Catapang said the AFP, through the Western Mindanao Command, will support socio-economic programs that will cater to livelihood, education and counter-radicalization as part of the military’s ‘Whole of Government Approach’ of addressing the problem.