Saturday, February 12, 2011

7 killed, 5 wounded in fierce Basilan battle

BASILAN, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Feb. 12, 2011) – At least seven soldiers and Abu Sayyaf militants were killed in fierce clashes Saturday in the restive province of Basilan, officials told the Mindanao Examiner.

Officials said troops have captured an Abu Sayyaf camp following a three hour firefight in the hinterland village of Baiwas in Sumisip town. Two soldiers were killed and officials said an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader, Juhaiber Alamsirul, were among five militants also killed in the fighting.

Five soldiers and a still undetermined number of militants were also wounded in the fighting.

“The fighting was fierce and two of my soldiers were killed and five more are wounded and all have been evacuated to military hospital in Zamboanga,” said Brigadier General Nicanor Dolojan, commander of military forces in Basilan, just several nautical miles south of here.

Dolojan said troops clashed with more than 30 militants before security forces captured the Abu Sayyaf camp which can house over 50 people. “It has seven bunkers and can accommodate more or less 50 militants,” he said.

He said soldiers located the Abu Sayyaf base after a long intelligence operation and that civilians also provided information that helped the military traced the location of the camp.

Dolojan said they recovered several bandoleers, one set of police uniform, three cell phones, and hand-held radio transceivers, two magazines for M14 rifle, ammunition, and seven camouflage hammocks from the Abu Sayyaf camp.

Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a regional army spokesman, said the wounded soldiers were airlifted to the Western Mindanao Command hospital in Zamboanga City where they are being treated for bullet wounds.

Early this week, government troops also killed an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Suhud Tanadjalin in a raid at his hideout in Basilan’s Tuburan town.

Authorities have linked the Abu Sayyaf to the spate of kidnappings and terrorism in the southern Philippines and are on top of the government’s order of battle. (Mindanao Examiner)

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