Two innocent children lost lives when they were fired upon by the Abu Sayyaf Group in Barangay Igasan, Patikul, Sulu at 5:35 on Saturday, May 25.
They were identified as Saiful Abdun, 1 and Jahid Usab, 12.
A platoon of soldiers from the 6th Special Forces Battalion who were conducting Community Support Program (CSP) activities in the area immediately responded and ferociously fought back to prevent the ASG from causing more destruction.
Amid the exchange of fires, three children identified as Alrazel Asain Tiblan, 13 years old; Habijar Asain Tiblan, 11 years old; and J.B. Asain Tiblan, 8 years old, were successfully rescued by the operating troops.
They also assisted the residents to temporarily vacate the area so as not to be caught in the middle of crossfires.
The treacherous act of the Abu Sayyaf is an expression of desperation due to loss of support from the local populace.
The clash resulted in the deaths of eight individuals (6 ASG members, 2 children) and wounding of 15 others including 7 ASG members, 5 soldiers, and 3 civilians.
Wounded soldiers and civilians are currently recuperating at Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital.
“We strongly condemn the barbaric act of the Abu Sayyaf. There is no place for such barbarism in our region,” said Lieutenant General Arnel B. Dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families of the innocent children,” added LtGen Dela Vega.