ZAMBOANGA CITY — Government troops are pursuing a group of Abu Sayyaf bandits who killed six people when they attacked early Monday a village in Basilan province.
A dozen others, including two children, were wounded in the attack.
The attack happened at around 5:30 a.m. Monday in Barangay Tubigan, Maluso while most of the residents are still asleep, the military reported.
The village of Tubigan is set to celebrate its fiesta on August 22.
Col. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, said troops stationed nearby immediately responded backing a handful of militiamen and Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) members who put up a fight against the Abu Sayyaf attackers.
Uy said the Abu Sayyaf bandits withdrew towards the hinterlands upon sensing the arrival of reinforcement.
Jordan Garcia, 24, said they saw a group of heavily armed gunmen clad in fatigue uniform that arrived on foot and converged at the barangay covered court before the attack.
Garcia said the gunmen, which were estimated to be over a hundred, positioned themselves and opened fire towards the cluster of houses that awakened the residents, who ran for safety.
The gunmen also set on fire some of the houses and the health center.
Garcia said he and his driver, who died from a head shot, were loading sawn lumber into a truck for transport at the time the gunmen arrived.
Garcia, who was hit in the leg, is among the 11 victims, including two children, who were transferred to a medical facility in this city after they received initial medication in Isabela City hospital.
They arrived in batches aboard commercial ferry plying the Zamboanga-Basilan route via Isabela City.
One of the six slain victim was identified as Reynaldo Esparcia, 50, one of the militiamen who put up a fight against the bandit-attackers.
Monday’s incident was the second attack in Barangay Tubigan, Maluso by the Abu Sayyaf bandits.
The first attack was on February 27, 2010 by 70 Abu Sayyaf bandits, setting fire to homes and killing at least 11 people.