Philippines: 4 troops killed in clashes with Abu Sayyaf

 08 May 2017 - 13:06

Philippines: 4 troops killed in clashes with Abu Sayyaf
File Photo: Troops carrying dead bodies last week after a military operation against Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippine province of Sulu. Credit Nickee Butlangan/Reuters.

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines: Four soldiers and four Abu Sayyaf members were killed in clashes in the troubled southern Philippines province of Basilan late Saturday.

Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, confirmed the death of four troops in two related encounters against the Daesh-linked militants.

Col. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan, said the ongoing sporadic skirmishes in separate areas left four Abu Sayyaf militants dead.

Basilan Governor Jim Salimman had earlier Sunday said an encounter with armed men at a checkpoint had left two suspected militants dead. Petinglay, however, had said they were still confirming reports that Abu Sayyaf militants were killed in the encounters with government troops.

Col. Uy confirmed four "enemies" were "killed in latest encounters between operating troops of the 4th Special Forces Battalion and Abu Sayyaf under unknown leader".

The fighting also resulted in the seizure of a temporary enemy encampment in the town of Sumisip, according to the army commander. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, vowed the military would continue to pound on the Abu Sayyaf.

"As long as they continue to pose a threat to the populace, we will be going after them and we will make sure that we will get them," he said.

"We are therefore calling on the other Abu Sayyaf members to surrender before the government forces get them. They have to decide now and fast before it is too late." 
Sumisip is one of the havens of the Abu Sayyaf in the southern province.