Gov't troops, Abu Sayyaf clash anew in Sulu

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Government troops are tracking down a group of fleeing Abu Sayyaf bandits, which figured in a firefight with soldiers early Saturday in the hinterlands of Sulu, the military reported.

The clash, which happened around 6:30 a.m., came a day after the Joint Task Force Sulu (JTFS) stepped up the offensive against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu.

The JTFS said the composite special forces team was on security operation when they clashed with around 10 ASG bandits in Barangay Upper Binoang, Talipao town.

The ASG bandits who figured in the clash were followers of ASG sub-leaders Jaber Susukan and Angag Jaji.

The JTFS said the firefight lasted for about 20 minutes, after which, the ASG bandits fled.

No one among the troops were either killed or wounded during the clash, the JTFS reported.

The ASG bandits were believed to have suffered casualties as bloodstains were visible in their withdrawal path since the troops pounded them with 81-millimeter mortar fires as they fled.

The troops recovered an M-16 Armalite rifle, two bandoleers, cellular phone and other personal belongings.

On Friday, Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, JTFS commander, said they conducted bomb runs, targeting some 200 ASG bandits in Sitios Agas-Agas and Limasan, Barangay Kabbon Takas in Patikul town.

Pabayo said their intensified tactical offensive was done after they validated a report that the groups of ASG leaders Radulan Sahiron and Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan were consolidating their forces in the area. (PNA)

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