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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

15 more Abu Sayyaf killed in Basilan offensive

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - - At least 15 more Abu Sayyaf militants have been killed in a military offensive in the mountains of Tipo-Tipo in Basilan province.

The military said the operation, which ran until dusk Tuesday, also left 14 soldiers injured, including five Army rangers who were hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) on Monday.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincon), said the additional 15 Abu Sayyaf fatalities was a result of intense bombardment and a ground assault at Hill 490, a position fortified by the militants in Barangay Baguindan.

“The fresh numbers of Abu Sayyaf fatalities are still being validated and verified on the ground. But the troops believe the number could be even higher. That is why we are validating and confirming it on the ground,” Tan said.

The figure, once confirmed, will bring the total number of Abu Sayyaf militants killed to 55, with scores more wounded in operations in Basilan and Sulu.

The military earlier that at least 22 militants were killed in Sulu and 18 in Basilan since their offensive on Wednesday last week.

Tan said the ground assault Tuesday afternoon was supposed to flush out the Abu Sayyaf militants for their dug-in positions.

Troopers from the 8th Scout Ranger Company, 14th Scout Ranger Company and 64th Infantry Battalion led the assault, where nine soldiers were wounded.

The wounded were identified as TSgt. Rolito Quimson, SSgt. Warren YbaƱez, Sgt. Elizalde Togado, Cpl. Teofisto Rabena, Cpl. Ryan Jay Zerrudo, Cpl. Rizalito Sayson, Cpl. Archie Pacionela, Cpl. Noel Morales, Cpl. Marnie Carpentil, Pfc. Ronald Abayon, Pfc. Julius Avila, Pfc. Albert Villanueva, Pfc. Vincent Maghari and Pfc. Jeffrey Habala.

They were brought to Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City for treatment.

Westmincom chief Lt. Gen. Mayoralgo dela Cruz awarded them wounded personnel medals in recognition of their gallantry.

Dela Cruz promised the wounded troopers that Westmincom will step up operations in Basilan to neutralize the Abu Sayyaf Group.

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