Zamboanga City – Five members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed, while several others were believed wounded, in an encounter with government troops in a secluded sitio of Panamao town in Sulu province at dawn, Sunday.
Joint Task Force-Sulu Commander Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said yesterday government troops under the Marine Battalion Landing Team 3, encountered an estimated 30 ASG members in Sitio Bud Bawis, Panamao, Sulu at 4:15 am, Sunday.
Fighting ended as morning broke at the encounter site with soldiers discovering the bodies of the four slain ASG fighters. An M14 rifle was also recovered.
“We have information from witnesses that another bandit died while the Abus were withdrawing. They also saw the group carrying and helping a number of wounded companions,” the commander of the JTF-Sulu said.
Sobejana continued: “Our soldiers are still searching the immediate vicinity while the bulk of our troops are tracking the group of Bensio and Binda.”
The Marines were conducting operations Saturday night after receiving information that the group of ASG sub-leaders Sansibar Bensio and Habib Munap Binda, together with some kidnap victims, were in the area.
“Our troops were very careful because of the report that there were kidnap victims with the Abus but upon reaching at the vicinity, our troops were immediately fired upon by the enemy, resulting to an exchange of gun fires,” Sobejana said.