3 Abus, soldier killed in clash

Bandera (Mindanao) - - FRONT PAGE - — John Roson

THREE Abu Sayyaf members and a soldier were killed while at least 11 others were wounded when government troops clashed with the bandit group in Patikul, Sulu, the military said Thursday.

"Based on our intel, three Abu Sayyaf members were killed while the number of wounded enemies is still undetermined," Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman Lt. Col. Gerry Besana said.

The military has yet to release the identity of the slain solider, and the 11 wounded soldiers, two of whome were transfered to Zamboanga City for further treatment.

Me m b e r s of the Army's 32nd Infantry Battalion encountered about 60 Abu Sayyaf members in Sitio Kan Apo A luk , Brgy . Panglayahan, around 1:55 p.m. Wednesday.

Intermittent firefight between troops and the bandits, who were followers of Abu Sayyaf subc o m m a n d e r Ha j a n Sawadjaan, lasted for 2 hours, Besana said.

Reinforcements were deployed to block the bandits' possible routes of withdrawal, while other troops are still scouring the clash site, he said.

Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, Wesmincom chief, said operations against the Abu Sayyaf will be further intensified despite the death of one soldier and wounding of 11 more.

"We recognize the commitment of our troops to thwart lawlessness, to the point of sacrificing even their lives. This incident gives us more resolve to further intensify our operations against the bandits," he said.

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