MANILA—The chief of the Western Mindanao Command visited the 14 soldiers wounded in a recent firefight between the military and the Abu Sayaff group, a skirmish that killed 11 government troops.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana honored the soldiers at Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Sulu, where he awarded them with the Wounded Personnel Medal.
"I congratulate you for your bravery and for doing your part in the accomplishment of our mission. We pray for your fast recovery," Sobejana told the troops, vowing to pursue the terrorist group that fled after an hour-long gunfight in Patikul town, Sulu Friday afternoon.
Hatib Hadjan Sawadjaan, an Abu Sayyaf leader whose group was tagged as the perpetrators in the attack on Friday, is believed to be the acting "emir" of the so-called Islamic State in the Philippines.
Malacañang earlier in the day vowed to crush the Abu Sayaff, condemning the extremists' attack.
"The enemies of the State choose no date and occasion. They strike even during this time of great pandemic," said Roque.
"But let this serve as a warning to all — our authorities remain ready and prepared to crush the enemies of the government and quell any armed attack amid the existing state of calamity and public health emergency."