Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2 Navy Seals Killed In Basilan Clash

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / December 30, 2009) – Two members of an elite Philippine Navy unit were killed in a clash with gunmen in the southern province of Basilan, where security forces are battling Abu Sayyaf militants, officials said Wednesday.

Officials said the fighting occurred in the coastal village of Kandiis in the town of Muhammad Ajul late Tuesday after soldiers who were in several rubber boats came under fire from about 20 gunmen under Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel Tanad Nasalun.

“The attack on the soldiers sparked a gun battle that killed Lieutenant Christopher Pantaleon and Petty Officer 3 Almario Manalili. Another sailor Reynan Sumalinog was wounded in the fighting,” said Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, the regional navy chief.

He said the soldiers, who are members of the Special Warfare Group, was on a security patrol after receiving intelligence reports that Abu Sayyaf forces under Nurhasan Jamiri and Puruji Indama were in the area.

The Abu Sayyaf and the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front are both actively operating in Basilan and had been previously linked by the police and military to many kidnappings-for-ransom in the province.

Pama has ordered troops to hunt down the attackers. “There is an ongoing operation,” he said. “Our operation in the area is to prevent terrorism and neutralize the terrorists; and to recover innocent people being held by the Abu Sayyaf.”

Marine Brigadier General Eugene Clemen, commander of military forces in Basilan, said the attackers apparently escaped and are being hunted by soldiers. “We are tracking them down,” Clemen, who was leading the operation in Mohammad Ajul town, said.

But the MILF said Tanad Nasalun, whose real name is Tanad Hajji Yunos, is a legitimate commander of the rebel group which is currently negotiating peace with Manila.

“We will let the cease-fire committees of the MILF and the Philippine government investigate the clashes to prevent the escalation of hostilities in Basilan,” Eid Kabalu, a senior MILF leader, said.

He said there were reports that clashes between Yunos’ group and government forces erupted Wednesday in Sinulatan village in Tuburan town near Muhammad Ajul. But the military said soldiers clashed with Abu Sayyaf militants under Montong Pula. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The Abu Sayyaf is holding two Chinese citizens Zi Shun Lu, alias Oscar Lu, 51; and Bo Shung Tan, who goes by the name Michael Tan, 27, both from Guangzhou province. A third hostage, Filipino plywood factory worker, Mark Singson, was beheaded recently in Basilan after his family and employer, Hitech Wood Craft Corporation in Maluso town, failed to pay P1.5 million ransom. Some 20 gunmen disguised as soldiers raided the factory on November 10 and seized the trio.

The Abu Sayyaf is also holding Donald John Capili, 19, who was kidnapped on August 27 in Zamboanga del Norte’s Liloy town and brought to Basilan by boat. Capili is a grandson of former Liloy town mayor Belchu Uy. (Mindanao Examiner)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

A most distressing news...

Hope to read more about this when the the killers are finally apprehended.