MANILA – Eight persons were killed while around 20 others sustained injuries in a clash between government troops and suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf group on Saturday in Patikul, Sulu.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Mindanao Command spokesman Colonel Gerry Besana said casualties consist of five government troops and three Abu Sayyaf bandits, including an alleged foreign terrorist.
Idang Susukan, a sub-leader of the group under Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, was among the 15 Abu Sayyaf group members who were hurt.
Besana said that in a radio interview the Abu Sayyaf still has a strong force after clashing with the government troops.
“Malakas pa po ang puwersa ng kalaban dito sa area na to kaya medyo hirap rin po ang tropa natin… Thickly vegetated ito kaya medyo nahirapan ang tropa natin,” Besana said.
Besana added the military is also conducting an air strike against the Abu Sayyaf in the area as part of AFP’s intensified combat against the terrorist group.
The intensified attacks against the Abu Sayyaf group was due to the Jolo explosions that tore through the Mount Carmel Cathedral during a Sunday mass that left at least 22 people killed and 100 others injured.
Following the bombing incident, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the military to conduct an “all-out-war” against the Islamic State-inspired rebels./PN