MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Sunday awarded medals to members of the Scout Rangers who were wounded in a fierce battle against the Abu Sayyaf Group in Patikul, Sulu on Saturday.
The injured soldiers received Wounded Personnel medals from Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
Five soldiers died and 18 more were wounded in the operation to neutralize Abu Sayyaf leader Hajan Sawadjaan, who is believed to be linked to the Jolo Cathedral bombing.
Lt. Col. Marlo Jomalesa, commander of the 5th Scout Ranger Battalion which led the fight, stood by the bed of his injured soldiers to give them their medals.
Three ASG fighters, including an Abu Sayyaf leader called Black Moro, were also killed in the firefight that went on for nearly two hours.
Black Moro is a suspected Indonesian terrorist alleged to have volunteered carrying out the Jolo Cathedral attack, the military said.
Pursuit operations against Sawadjaan continue.