While conducting focused military operation, troops of the 13th Special Forces Company, 6th Special Forces Battalion encountered 30 Abu Sayyaf Group members under Mundi Sawadjaan in Barangay Igasan, Patikul, Sulu at 5:35pm yesterday, May 25.
A firefight ensued that lasted for 30 minutes after which enemies withdrew bringing along their casualties.
6 abus were killed and 7 others were wounded during the encounter while 5 soldiers were slightly wounded.
Troops were acting on a reported harassment by the ASG in the said barangay where 2 children were reportedly killed and 3 others were wounded.
Troops immediately responded and assisted the residents to safely vacate the area.
Despite of being wounded during the first burst of fire, acts of heroism were displayed by 2nd Lieutenant Christian Capiz, the platoon leader of the Special Forces, with 2 other Enlisted Personnel, when they safely secured 3 children caught in the middle of the firefight.
“I could have easily withdrawn my troops to a safer position, but I cannot leave behind the trapped and panicking children. So I ordered my men to hold their position and prevent the advance of the ASG at all cost” 2Lt Capiz said.
Brigadier General Peter Angelo Ramos, Commander of the 1102nd Brigade said that the desperate ASG attack against the innocent civilians is a total disrespect to the tenets of Islam as a religion of peace and a blatant disregard in the observance of the holy month of Ramadan.
He said, “ASG attacks to civilians is not new to us. As can be recalled, they harassed our hapless civilians with mortar fires during the Medical and Civic Action Program in Brgy. Tanum, Patikul sometime in February of this year. Similarly, they ambushed a group of Brgy Taglibi school teachers, who were on their way to their work which resulted to the wounding of 2 PNP security escorts”.
Brigadier General Divino Rey C. Pabayo Jr., Commander, Joint Task Force Sulu stated that the ASG was enraged with the civilians for cooperating with the AFP. “They were furious even to their own families whom they suspected of collaborating with our soldiers” General Pabayo mentioned.
“The death of the 2 innocent children and the wounding of 3 other civilians are indicative of the ASG’s desperate actions of sowing fear among the local populace. Hence, I urge the peace-loving Tausugs to strongly condemn this unIslamic and treacherous acts of the ASG. Let us remain firm with our resolve in putting an end to this senseless killing of innocent civilians,” General Pabayo further elaborated.
Wounded soldiers and civilians are currently recuperating at the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo, Sulu.
“We deeply condemn this terroristic act of the Abu Sayyaf,” said Lieutenant General Arnel B. Dela Vega, Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
“On behalf of the men and women of WestMinCom, I would like to personally extend my condolences to the bereaved family of the innocent children who were slain by the terrorists,” LtGen Dela Vega added.
“Rest assured we will go after the remaining bandits and we will intensify security operations in the area,” he concluded.