3 DEAD, 20 HURT IN BASILAN CLASH

APRIL 12-Philippine troops launched an assault against Abu Sayyaf extremists in the south early Friday and sporadic clashes have left at least three militants dead and 20 soldiers wounded, officials said. Some of the more than 60 Abu Sayyaf gunmen took cover in a school during an initial gunbattle in a rural community on Basilan Island but it was not clear if they took hostages or if they have left, said army brigade commander Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez. The school was supposed to be empty because students were on a summer break. Military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said about 200 soldiers were deployed before dawn to assault a group of gunmen led by Abu Sayyaf commander Puruji Indama in Basilan’s Unkaya Pukan township. Galvez said troops moved in after Indama and his men threatened and tried to extort money from a key road project in Basilan, a predominantly Muslim province and birthplace of the brutal Abu Sayyaf, which is notorious for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and bombings. Troops initially clashed with a group of more than 30 Abu Sayyaf armed fighters, who were later reinforced by two separate groups of more than 30 other militants. Three militants were believed killed in initial fighting and two more were critically wounded in a second gunbattle, Galvez told The Associated Press by telephone as he directed the assault from Basilan. Three soldiers were wounded by gunfire and 17 others sustained minor injuries due to shrapnel and flying debris in the two clashes, he said. Government troops could not advance rapidly toward the fighters because they had to pass near communities of a larger Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, with which the government recently signed a peace agreement. Under a ceasefire accord, troops have to coordinate their presence with the Moro rebel front when pursuing the smaller Abu Sayyaf to avoid accidental clashes.

ALSO: (LATEST NEWS) Basilan fighting leaves 12 dead

APRIL 14 -The clashes in Basilan on Friday that left more than 10 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers dead ended yesterday, but the military are still in pursuit of the gunmen. The day-long fighting that saw the alleged involvement of several Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commanders – identified as Malangka Sapaat, Hamsa Sapanton, Abbas Salong, Rashid Iklaman and Parang Pais – left 29 soldiers wounded, including an Army colonel, a captain and a lieutenant. Military sources said the MILF commanders and their men joined the fighting early morning Friday, reinforcing the group of Abu Sayyaf commanders Nurhasan Jamiri, Bashir Kasaran, Ibrahim Malat and Furuji Indama at their hideout in Sitio Kurilem, Barangay Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo town. The firefight started when a team of Army Scout Rangers launched the offensive early Friday. READ MORE...

ALSO: 20 soldiers wounded in clash with Sayyaf in Basilan

Twenty soldiers from the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion were wounded in a series of encounters with Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan early Friday. The soldiers were planning to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama and his men who tried to threaten and extort from the ongoing construction of the Magkawa-Albarka Road, a report from the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command said. The clash erupted in Unkaya Pukan town at 2:25 a.m. The soldiers fought about 60 members of the Abu Sayyaf. The firefight left 18 soldiers injured and two more sustained serious injuries. The ASG had undetermined number of casualties. The wounded soldiers were airlifted to Zamboanga City past 6 a.m.

ALSO: Death toll in Basilan clashes rises to 7

A report from the Western Mindanao Command on Saturday said that five were killed from the ASG side – one from a group led by Furuji Indama and two from Isilon Hapilon group – Assi Kalitot and Basri Musa. Wounded government forces also increased to 28, but most of these sustained minor injuries caused by shrapnel. Two were killed in action but were not yet immediately identified pending the notification of their families. The wounded forces were evacuated to Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga. The government assault was intended for the ASG who was responsible for several cases of kidnapping and extortion. But authorities said the attack was not related to the search for the Chinese and Filipino national abducted by the ASG last week in Sabah believed to have been brought to the Philippines.

ALSO: Sabah abduction prompts Western Mindanao Command to raise alert

The military’s Western Mindanao Command alerted its naval assets after the abduction of a Filipino resort worker and a Chinese national in Sabah on Thursday. “As of now naka-alert naman po yung mga naval assets natin,” Captain Rowena Muyuela, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Wesmincom said. A report by Star Malaysia said the Abu Sayyaf Group abducted the two. The ASG is a terrorist group linked to kidnappings and bombings in Mindanao. It is also associated with Al Qaeda. Sabah is a boat ride from the Mindanao region. “We are still waiting for the official report,” Muyuela said.


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3 dead, 20 hurt in Basilan clash

MANILA, APRIL 14, 2014 (INQUIRER)  Associated Press - Philippine troops launched an assault against Abu Sayyaf extremists in the south early Friday and sporadic clashes have left at least three militants dead and 20 soldiers wounded, officials said.

Some of the more than 60 Abu Sayyaf gunmen took cover in a school during an initial gunbattle in a rural community on Basilan Island but it was not clear if they took hostages or if they have left, said army brigade commander Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez. The school was supposed to be empty because students were on a summer break.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said about 200 soldiers were deployed before dawn to assault a group of gunmen led by Abu Sayyaf commander Puruji Indama in Basilan’s Unkaya Pukan township.

Galvez said troops moved in after Indama and his men threatened and tried to extort money from a key road project in Basilan, a predominantly Muslim province and birthplace of the brutal Abu Sayyaf, which is notorious for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and bombings.

Troops initially clashed with a group of more than 30 Abu Sayyaf armed fighters, who were later reinforced by two separate groups of more than 30 other militants. Three militants were believed killed in initial fighting and two more were critically wounded in a second gunbattle, Galvez told The Associated Press by telephone as he directed the assault from Basilan.

Three soldiers were wounded by gunfire and 17 others sustained minor injuries due to shrapnel and flying debris in the two clashes, he said.

Government troops could not advance rapidly toward the fighters because they had to pass near communities of a larger Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, with which the government recently signed a peace agreement.

Under a ceasefire accord, troops have to coordinate their presence with the Moro rebel front when pursuing the smaller Abu Sayyaf to avoid accidental clashes.

“We’re still pursuing the Abu Sayyaf and there are sporadic fighting and sniping,” Galvez said.

It was not immediately clear what happened to Indama, a young but ruthless militant, who has been wanted by Philippine authorities for his alleged involvement in deadly bombings and kidnappings. Among those kidnapped was a former Australian soldier, who was freed last year after 15 months of jungle captivity and reported payment of ransom.

Indama also has been blamed for the beheadings of 10 marines in Basilan in 2007, a widely condemned atrocity.
“We’re continuing the pressure,” Zagala said of the ongoing assault.

The Abu Sayyaf, which is on a US list of terrorist organizations, was founded in 1991 on Basilan with reported funds and training from Asian and Middle Eastern radical groups, including al-Qaida. It came to US attention in 2001 when it kidnapped three Americans, one of whom was beheaded, along with dozens of Filipinos.

The group is still holding a number of hostages in the vast jungles of nearby Sulu province, including two European bird watchers, who were kidnapped two years ago.

Zagala said Friday’s operation is unrelated to a search for suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen who were believed to have abducted a 28-year-old Chinese tourist last week from a Malaysian resort off Borneo island then took her by speedboat to the southern Philippines.

FROM PHILSTAR

Basilan fighting leaves 12 dead By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 13, 2014 - 12:00am 5 1573 googleplus0 0

MANILA, Philippines - The clashes in Basilan on Friday that left more than 10 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers dead ended yesterday, but the military are still in pursuit of the gunmen.

The day-long fighting that saw the alleged involvement of several Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commanders – identified as Malangka Sapaat, Hamsa Sapanton, Abbas Salong, Rashid Iklaman and Parang Pais – left 29 soldiers wounded, including an Army colonel, a captain and a lieutenant.

Military sources said the MILF commanders and their men joined the fighting early morning Friday, reinforcing the group of Abu Sayyaf commanders Nurhasan Jamiri, Bashir Kasaran, Ibrahim Malat and Furuji Indama at their hideout in Sitio Kurilem, Barangay Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo town.

The firefight started when a team of Army Scout Rangers launched the offensive early Friday.

The clashes occurred just several meters away from an MILF camp in the area.

The military launched the offensive on intelligence reports that the Abu Sayyaf is holding Sabrina Ikbala Voon, niece of retired police director Sukarno Ikbala, who was kidnaped in Zamboanga City last February.

“We are now in the process of gathering the names of the Abu Sayyaf and MILF fatalities. There were many wounded on their side,” a military officer said.

He added the MILF commanders and their men were apparently dragged into the fighting because most of the Abu Sayyaf gunmen that were attacked by the Scout Rangers are their relatives.

As the fighting progressed, the Scout Rangers were overwhelmed by the increasing number of combatants from the MILF helping the Abu Sayyaf militants.

The troops were saved from being wiped out by the timely arrival of reinforcements.

“At first, the enemies were only around 30 but before noon, their number increased to more than 60 and further rose to more than 150 in the early afternoon,” an Army field unit commander said. – Roel Pareño

20 soldiers wounded in clash with Sayyaf in Basilan By Frances Mangosing INQUIRER.net 12:13 pm | Friday, April 11th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – Twenty soldiers from the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion were wounded in a series of encounters with Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan early Friday.

The soldiers were planning to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama and his men who tried to threaten and extort from the ongoing construction of the Magkawa-Albarka Road, a report from the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command said.

The clash erupted in Unkaya Pukan town at 2:25 a.m. The soldiers fought about 60 members of the Abu Sayyaf.

The firefight left 18 soldiers injured and two more sustained serious injuries. The ASG had undetermined number of casualties.

The wounded soldiers were airlifted to Zamboanga City past 6 a.m.

The Abu Sayyaf is occupying school buildings in Baguindan village, field reports said.

The operations also intended to clear the areas of Tipo-Tipo and Al-Barka of the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, which is believed to be responsible for extortion and kidnapping cases in the restive Mindanao region.

Wesmincom said it “will commit all available air and Naval assets in support to these operations in order to immediately seize this group of criminals/bandits.”

Death toll in Basilan clashes rises to 7 By Frances Mangosing INQUIRER.net 12:11 pm | Saturday, April 12th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – Deaths from the sporadic clashes between the government forces and Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan on Friday rose to seven while the number of injured rose to 28.


AFP FILE PHOTO

A report from the Western Mindanao Command on Saturday said that five were killed from the ASG side – one from a group led by Furuji Indama and two from Isilon Hapilon group – Assi Kalitot and Basri Musa.

Wounded government forces also increased to 28, but most of these sustained minor injuries caused by shrapnel. Two were killed in action but were not yet immediately identified pending the notification of their families.

The wounded forces were evacuated to Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga.

The government assault was intended for the ASG who was responsible for several cases of kidnapping and extortion. But authorities said the attack was not related to the search for the Chinese and Filipino national abducted by the ASG last week in Sabah believed to have been brought to the Philippines.

Sabah abduction prompts Western Mindanao Command to raise alert By Frances Mangosing INQUIRER.net 8:47 pm | Thursday, April 3rd, 2014


In this photo taken with a mobile phone camera on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, tourists hide behind a table in reaction to gunshot sounds at the Singmata Adventures and Reef resort after a raid by suspected Filipino insurgents in Semporna, Sabah state of Malaysia. Suspected Filipino insurgents seized a Chinese tourist and a hotel worker from a dive resort in eastern Malaysia and then fled by speed boat, Malaysian and Philippine officials said Thursday. AP

MANILA, Philippines–The military’s Western Mindanao Command alerted its naval assets after the abduction of a Filipino resort worker and a Chinese national in Sabah on Thursday.

“As of now naka-alert naman po yung mga naval assets natin,” Captain Rowena Muyuela, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Wesmincom said.

A report by Star Malaysia said the Abu Sayyaf Group abducted the two. The ASG is a terrorist group linked to kidnappings and bombings in Mindanao. It is also associated with Al Qaeda.

Sabah is a boat ride from the Mindanao region.

“We are still waiting for the official report,” Muyuela said.


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