Philippines forces kill 20 Abu Sayyaf terrorists
At least 20 Daesh-linked terrorists were killed after government security forces pounded their lair in the southern Philippines, the military said, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
Col. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan, confirmed the killing of 20 militants before dawn Thursday in combined airstrikes and indirect fire in far-flung areas in the town of Sumisip in the majority-Muslim province of Basilan in southern Mindanao.
"Heavy bloodstains were found in the vicinity where an improvised explosive went off, inflicting minor injuries on two of our soldiers," Uy said.
According to Uy, the Abu Sayyaf got a taste of the Philippine Airforce’s F/A 50 after the jet fighter delivered its deadly payload, inflicting immediate fatalities on the terrorists.
He said the airstrikes were immediately followed with artillery and mortar fire, inflicting additional casualties.
The military launched the operation following information from former Abu Sayyaf members and local residents regarding the group's temporary encampment in the area of Barangay (village) Pamatsaken.
Armed with intelligence reports from Abu Sayyaf surrenderees, the local populace and the local government units, the army brigade were able to track down the group’s temporary encampment, said Uy.
Just before dawn, operating troops managed to close with the temporary enemy's harbor in the village, believed to be harboring one of most-wanted Abu Sayyaf subleaders, Furuji Indama.
“Equipped with night fighting capabilities, our troops were able to inch within a hundred meters of the enemy under the cover of darkness,” Lt. Col. Andrew Bacala Jr, commanding officer of the 4th Special Forces Battalion, said in a text message.
According to Bacala, despite several improvised explosives laid by the bandits, the special forces managed to completely seize the encampment before 10 in the morning Thursday.
"Seizure of the site reveals makeshift tents capable of accommodating MOL 30-40 Abu Sayaff bandits across 150 meters of hilltop," he added.
The troops also recovered several foodstuffs and explosive components capable of making 30 IEDs. Three live IEDs were also recovered by Special Forces Demolition Specialists.
A firefight followed as Rangers from the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion caught up with the fleeing bandits some 300 meters from the seized encampment.
“Our troops were able to cordon the enemy due to the accurate and timely indirect fires and close air support delivered by our Artillery and the Philippine Airforce,” Uy said.
Since 1991, the group -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.
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