AFP verifying 10 Abu bandits killed in Patikul air strikes

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is verifying reports that at least 10 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group ( ASG) were killed in the aerial bombardment by the military against the terrorist group last Friday in Bgy. Kabuntakas, Patikul, Sulu.

“May mga report on casualties  pero hindi pa confirmed. Wala pang body count. ‘Di namin ma-pinpoint pa, maraming nagsasabi may sampu, may siyam, wala pang confirmation,” Brig. General Divino Rey Pabayo, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu ( JTFS), said.

Pabayo said they received an intelligence report that nine to ten bandits were killed but the bodies were yet to be retrieved by their comrades.

He said government forces are scouring the area to look for the casualties.

“Kasi masukal masyado, malaki ‘yung area, ongoing pa, ini-scour pa,” he said.

Government forces launched an aerial assault after receiving reports about the bandits spotted in the area.

The report said ASG sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan was seen in the village when the aerial bombardment was conducted.

However, troops could not yet confirm if Sawadjaan was among the casualties.

BROTHER OF ASG SUB-LEADER HURT IN clash  Meanwhile an ASG member on Saturday was killed while a brother of their sub-leader was wounded in an encounter with government forces in Talipao, Sulu.

Killed was Rakib Dasul while the injured was Jaber Susukan, a brother of ASG sub-leader Idang Susukan.

Dasul was involved in a series of kidnappings perpetrated by a group led by ASG sub-leader Apoh Mike.

Members of the 2nd Special Forces Batallion were patrolling the mountainous area of Talipao when they met the bandits at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.

A firefight ensued which lasted for several minutes and resulted to the death of Dasul and the wounding of Susukan.

Recovered at the clash site were two M16 rifles, magazines and ammunition.