- Shootouts between the military and the ASG happened on various parts of Sulu since Tuesday
- ASG has recently become infamous for ruthless beheadings
- Duterte has promised a "day of reckoning" for the rebel group
A skirmish with the military in Sulu has killed three Abu Sayyaf fighters and wounded ten others, according to the military's statement yesterday, June 22.
Maj. Filemon Tan, the military's Western Mindanao Command spokesperson, also announced that around 16 other soldiers were also wounded in a shootout at Patikul town. He explained that troops from the 32nd Infantry Battalion crossed paths with around 200 ASG gunmen in Sitio Bud Duwa Bayo, Barangay Pansul on Tuesday afternoon. The encounter sparked a gun battle that lasted an hour and a half.
The injured soldiers were reportedly taken to a hospital in Busbus, Jolo.
"There will be a reckoning"
In a meeting of business leaders at Davao City also last Tuesday, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte foretold of a "day of reckoning" for the Abu Sayyaf, and vowed he would dismantle the group.
"I cannot do it just immediately. But there will be a time, there will be a reckoning."
The group is notorious for bombings, ransom kidnappings, and beheading hostages if their ransom demands are not met within a set deadline.
READ ALSO: Duterte asks for more time to end Abu Sayyaf
The two latter activities describe the predicament of Canadian hostages John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, who were both beheaded a month apart after no ransom was paid to save their lives. The two men, along with Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipina Tess Flor, were abducted from a resort on Samal Island last September 2015. Sekkingstad and Flor are still being held hostage by the terror group.
The Abu Sayyaf is rumored to be holding three other hostages as well. Tan assured that the AFP is continuing to intensify the implementation of focused military operations in Sulu, so as to pinpoint the Abu Sayyaf Group and to retrieve the remaining hostages.
READ ALSO: Duterte team steps in to save ASG hostages