Sacol Island in Zamboanga City. (Google Earth Photo)
ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 25, 2011) – Four soldiers were wounded in a sea battle with suspected Abu Sayyaf militants that erupted late Tuesday off the southern Philippine port city of Zamboanga, officials said.
The fighting broke out near the coastal village of Taluksangay 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 four soldiers were wounded in the fighting that 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.
Other reports said one soldier and two gunmen were 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)