Friday, July 29, 2011

Military casualties in Sayyaf clash arrive in Zamboanga

Some of the wounded soldiers evacuated to Zamboanga City. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 29, 2011) – The Philippine military evacuated to Zamboanga City government soldiers who were wounded and killed in fierce clashes with Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern province of Sulu, officials said.

More than a dozen soldiers were wounded in Thursday fighting in Patikul town where the military recovered the bodies of 5 marines who went missing. A total of 7 soldiers were killed in the clash with about 70 militants under Radulan Sahiron and Isnilon Hapilon. Some of those slain were decapitated.

Philippine troops have recovered the bodies of five soldiers who went missing during Thursday’s clashes with Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern province of Sulu, said Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a regional military spokesman.

He said the fighting broke out at around 4:30 a.m. after security forces attacked a lair of the Abu Sayyaf which is believed to be holding a kidnapped Indian and a Malaysian national, and two Filipino fishermen.

It was not immediately known whether the offensive codenamed “Wild Finger” was part of an operation to rescue the foreigners. But Cabangbang said they received reports that the Abu Sayyaf is holding several hostages. "We have reports that the two fishermen are being as held by the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul," he said.

He said more than a dozen Abu Sayyaf militants were killed in the fighting, but there were no reports whether their leaders had been killed or wounded.

The Abu Sayyaf is said to be harboring members of the Indonesian and Malaysian terrorists from Jemaah Islamiya and Kampulan Malaysia and Filipino authorities have previously reported that among those being protected by the militants were Zulkifli bin Hir, Mauiya and Quayem.

The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed by Philippine authorities to the spate of terrorism in the volatile southern region, where security forces are battling Muslim and communist insurgencies the past four decades. (Mindanao Examiner)

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