- An Army officer was killed in an encounter between government troops and the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan
- Four soldiers were also wounded in the clash
- A military official said the airstrike and fighting continues
MANILA, Philippines – An Army officer was killed while 4 soldiers were also wounded after government troops in Basilan encountered members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on Thursday, January 12.
According to Maj. Filemon Tan, spokesperson for the AFP Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom), soldiers from the Philippine Army’s (PA) 19th Special Forces Company of the 4th Special Forces Battalion led by Capt. Dexter Dantog chanced upon an armed group while conducting combat operation in Barangay Cabcaban in the town of Sumisip.
The firefight ensued between the government troops and the insurgents around 7:10 am. The rebels’ group was led by one Furuji Indama alias Abu Dujana, the bandit leader who was wounded in an earlier clash with soldiers in April last year.
Tan said soldiers from the 64th Infantry Battalion and the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion were immediately sent to reinforce the first group who are now in pursuit of Indama and his men.
“As of now diretso airstrike. The encounter continues,” said Tan.
The military official did not immediately divulged the identity of the slain officer and the wounded soldiers. Also, there were no confirmed reports yet of casualty from the enemy’s side.
The latest development follows an earlier pronouncement from the AFP leadership that the government has deployed 51 battalions to Mindanao with the primary mission of crushing ASG and other terrorist groups within six months, a self-imposed’ deadline the military officials said they are determined to meet.