ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / November 16, 2009) – A government soldier was wounded in fresh clashes with suspected Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, officials said on Monday.
Officials said the fighting erupted late Sunday after troops foiled an attempt by militants to bomb a newly repaired bridge in the town of Indanan. The bridge was twice bombed in the past by the Abu Sayyaf to prevent the military from deploying troops in the town.
“The Abu Sayyaf tried to blow up the bridge again. The bridge was just repaired on Saturday after it was bombed twice by the Abu Sayyaf. The fighting lasted for about 15 minutes and they (militants) withdrew with a still undetermined number of casualties,” said Marine Brigadier General Rustico Guerrero, commander of military forces in Sulu, one of five provinces under the restive Muslim autonomous region.
The bridge connects the town to other areas in the province and is frequently used by the military in the deployment of soldiers fighting the Abu Sayyaf and Moro rebels.
Sporadic clashes in Sulu since September had killed dozens of gunmen and soldiers, including two members of the US Special Forces, after the military launched attacks against the Abu Sayyaf and Moro National Liberation Front rebels during the Eid Fit’r, one of the most important Muslim celebrations after the holy month of Ramadan. US troops are deployed in Sulu since 2006 and helping the military defeat terrorism.
The MNLF declared a holy war or jihad against the military for disrespecting the Eid celebration. (Mindanao Examiner)