As forces continue the conduct of military operations over respective areas, soldiers of the Joint Task Force Sulu under Brigadier General Divino Rey Pabayo encountered more or less 50 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Patikul, Sulu around 5am today.
Operating troops of the 62nd, 61st, and 64th Marine Companies engaged in a gun battle with the Abu Sayyaf under sub leader Alnijar Ekit and Aldi Alun in Barangay Timpook, Patikul Sulu.
Due to the superior firepower of the government forces, the bandits were forced to withdraw and escape.
Soldiers found one dead body, an M14 rifle, and 7 M14 magazines after searching the immediate vicinity of the encounter site.
The firefight further resulted to the death of six (6) other bandits based on human intelligence while the number of wounded enemies is yet to be determined. In addition, twelve (12) persons for identification (PIDs) were apprehended amid the exchange of fires. They are now being interrogated by the troops.
Three marine troopers were killed in action while 3 others incurred minor injuries. Battle casualties were subsequently evacuated to KHTB Station Hospital for the medical treatment of the 3 WIAs and post mortem examination of the 3 KIAs.
“We are sad to report that we lost three (3) of our valiant marines during the course of the fight,” said LtGen Arnel B. Dela Vega.
“We ask for prayers from all peace-loving people of the country for their eternal repose and for the speedy recovery of the three others who were wounded during the encounter,” he added.
Pursuit operation is still being conducted.