While conducting focused military operation, troops chanced upon undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf Group members in Barangay Simusa Island, Banguingui, Sulu at 11:44 am today (March 18).
Firefight ensued that lasted for five minutes after which the enemy withdrew leaving two of their casualties (one killed, one wounded) behind.
At around 12:45 pm, pursuing elements of the 21st Marine Company, Marine Battalion Landing Team 1 encountered the fleeing bandits in Sitio Mono-Mono, Simusa Island.
Firefight lasted for 3 minutes.
No casualty was reported on the government side on both encounters while the wounded enemy from the first encounter, was ferried to the Philippine Marine Ready Force-Sulu camp for immediate medical attention and the remains of the slain ASG member identified as Hamza L. Hamad, 19 years old and resident of Sirawai, Zamboanga Del Norte, was brought to the MBLT1 Command Group “A” for proper disposition.
Captured wounded abu identified as Alvin Mohammad, resident of Simusa Island, Barangay Bakaan, Banguingui, Sulu, was then brought to Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital for further treatment and custodial debriefing.
In the initial interrogation, Mohammad disclosed that their group led by Najir Arik is already starving and running out of ammunitions.
“Our Joint Task Force Sulu have intensified its operation to pursue the fleeing bandits and constrict its movement,” said Lieutenant General Arnel B. Dela Vega, Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
“We will continuously employ more pressure on them to rescue the remaining captives and gain more enemy strongholds,” added LtGen Dela Vega.
Troops are still in pursuit of the fleeing bandits.