MANILA - Seven soldiers were wounded in a firefight between the military and terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in Patikul town, Sulu on Wednesday.
Military officials said the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion encountered about 30 militants known to be under the leadership of ASG leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan in Sitio Kan Mindang, Barangay Pangdanon around 8 a.m.
The firefight reportedly went on for 50 minutes before the bandits withdrew, bringing along a still undetermined number of casualties within their ranks.
“We believe that a number of bandits were wounded and probably could have died due to loss of blood for our troops have seen lots of bloodstains in the enemy position and in their withdrawal route,” said Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, in a statement.
Five wounded soldiers were immediately sent to hospital for treatment.
Military personnel then pursued the fleeing ASG members and encountered around 10 bandits in Sitio Kanlimbungan, Barangay Tanum in the same town.
A 20-minute gunfight ensued, wounding 2 more soldiers, the military said.
Soldiers recovered at the site of the gunfight 5 improvised explosive devices, medical supplies, food supplies, 30 empty gallons, personal belongings, a detonating cord, lead wire around 10 to 15 meters in length, and empty shells of 5.56mm and 7.62mm caliber firearms, among others that belonged to the bandits.
The military said the encounter led to the discovery of an enemy encampment in Barangay Panglayahan, Patikul town.
“The enemy encampment can accommodate more or less 50 persons,” Vinluan said.