Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Army loses trooper in Zamboanga clash

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 26, 2011) – Philippine military officials said Wednesday one soldier was killed and three others wounded during a sea battle with suspected Abu Sayyaf militants off Zamboanga City.

Officials said the fighting broke out near the coastal village of Taluksangay late Tuesday after patrolling troops encountered four heavily-armed men on a motorboat.

“We have received reports that there was an encounter at sea near after gunmen opened fire on patrolling soldiers,” said Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo, the city police chief.

He said police forces were deployed to the area to help soldiers pursue the gunmen.

Army Colonel Buenaventura Pascual, commander of the anti-terror Task Force Zamboanga, said the fighting erupted at around 8:25 p.m.

“Our soldiers were conducting seaborne patrol when they encountered four fully-armed men, believed to be members of a lawless group under Yusop Apdin based in Sacol Island, on board a motorized boat along the shorelines of Taluksangay.”

“The fire fight lasted about 15 minutes. Four of our soldiers are wounded in the clash and we still don’t know if there are casualties on the enemy side,” Pascual said.

But Army Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said one of the wounded soldiers died in hospital.

Other reports said two gunmen were also killed in the clash.

Pascual said the attack on the soldiers was in retaliation to the killing of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Imran Asgari in a firefight with the military last month in Sacol Island.

Asgari was also linked by the military to the spate of kidnappings in Zamboanga Peninsula. (Mindanao Examiner)

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