MANILA – Ongoing “focused military operations” against Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists, in wake of the brutal beheading of 18-year old Patrick Jhames Almodavar last Aug. 25, has so far killed an estimated 19 brigands and wounded several others in Sulu.
Operations started on Friday and are still ongoing as of this posting.
Sixteen bandits, including ASG sub-leader Mohammad Said alias “Ama Maas,” his son, two other sub-commanders and 12 terrorists were reported killed and scores other wounded after encountering troops from the 11th and 12th Scout Ranger Companies in Barangay Bunkaong, Patikul town, Sulu last Friday.
Clearing operations initially resulted in the recovery of six ASG bodies, including those of Said, AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said.
“Ten more bandits were reportedly killed, according to reliable intelligence informants on the ground, that included two other sub-leaders aside from alias ‘Maas’,” he added.
ASG body count went up to 10 when four more bodies, including the son of Said, were recovered later that day.
Arevalo said that is very likely that the remaining six ASG bandits killed were immediately buried by their companions in accordance with Muslim practice.
In this encounter, 17 government soldiers were wounded by M-203 grenade shrapnels.
Of this, only seven were evacuated to the nearby Camp Navarro Station Hospital where they are reported to be in stable condition; the rest opted to remain in the field to continue the operations against the bandits.
In another encounter in Latih, Patikul around 10:15 a.m. Saturday, another three ASG terrorists were killed and M-16 automatic rifles and a M-203 grenade launcher recovered.
In this clash an estimated 30 bandits fought with troops from the 10th Infantry Battalion.
“Three ASG members were killed (bodies unrecovered) but their prostrate bodies were seen by the soldiers being dragged by their escaping cohorts. Recovered from the encounter site were two M-16 rifles and an M-203 grenade launcher. No casualty from the government security forces as they pursued the fleeing bandits,” Arevalo stressed.