ASG leader killed, 5 followers hurt in Sulu clash

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.

November 25, 2019, 4:13 pm

ASG BANDITS SLAIN. ASG sub-leader Sibih Pisih, one of the five slain bandits during the two separate clashes that broke out on Saturday (Nov. 23, 2019) and Sunday with government troops in Sulu. (Photo courtesy of Army's 1102nd IB)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- A mid-level leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and five followers were killed while 11 others wounded in two separate clashes in the province of Sulu, military officials said Monday.

Four of the 11 wounded were ASG bandits while the remaining seven were soldiers, said Col. Ignatius Patrimonio, the Army’s 1102nd Infantry Brigade commander.

Patrimonio said one ASG bandit was killed while four others wounded in the first clash that took place around 2:40 p.m. Saturday in Sitio Itum, Barangay Kabuntakas, Patikul.

He said the firefight, which lasted for about 45 minutes, ensued while the troops were checking the presence of ASG bandits following a tipoff from residents. The slain bandit was only identified as a certain Jalaide.

Patrimonio said five soldiers from the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion were also wounded during Saturday's clash, who were taken to the Camp Bautista Station Hospital and were discharged around 10 a.m. Sunday.

The second clash that occurred around 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Sitio Huton Mahablo, Barangay Silangkan, Indanan, killed five ASG bandits, including Sibih Pisih, an ASG sub-leader, Patrimonio said.

Pisih was previously under the group of Radullan Sahiron, the oldest ASG leader, and a certain Roger Sajih. He had allied with the group of ASG leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan who separated from the group of Sahiron, the military said.

Patrimonio said Pisih was in-charge of the ASG’s offshore kidnappings, specifically in the borders of Tawi-Tawi and Sabah, and had a standing warrant of arrest for the massacre of 22 civilians sometime in 2015 in Talipao, Sulu.

Patrimonio said the two soldiers wounded in the second clash that lasted for about 30-minute belong to the Army’s 2nd Special Forces Battalion.

Government forces recovered one M653 rifle, one Barret sniper rifle, and a .45-caliber pistol.

“The ASG has no safe place here in Sulu as the people themselves are now very active in reporting the ASG presence in their communities. They may evade government forces occasionally, but they will surely ran-out of luck as they are continuously losing their traditional lairs here in Sulu,” Patrimonio said.

Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., Joint Task Force Sulu commander, congratulated the troops for the series of successful combat operations against the ASG bandits.

“We will hunt you down one-by-one if you will not surrender. We will not stop until all of you are brought to justice,” Vinluan said. (PNA)