- In the continuing sporadic skirmish between the government troops and the Abu Sayyaf group (ASG), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) seemed to be on the losing side
- The AFP had announced that 15 soldiers have been killed in the encounters and 12 more have been injured
- On the other hand, though the total number of casualties from the ASG is still unconfirmed, four Abu Sayyaf had reportedly been killed in two separate encounters
Fifteen troopers have been confirmed dead as 12 others were reportedly injured from the government side due to the firefight between the military and the members of the Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) in Patikul, Sulu, according to the spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Tuesday, August 30.
Major Felimon Tan Jr., Spokesperson of the AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) also said that one of the officers was slain in a clash at around 4:30 p.m. at Sitio Kan Jalul, Brgy. Maligay.
The firefight, which featured members of the Army's 35th and 21st Infantry Battalions, reportedly started at around 4:30 p.m. and lasted before 6 p.m.
READ ALSO: Muslim extremists stage jailbreak
According to Tan, a pursuit operation was in progress when the troops encountered the ASG's main body led by sub-leader Radullan Sahiron.
"Ang description ng nangyaring fight is fight talaga e. Laban. Kumbaga, positioning siguro. Manuever. Nabira. Kaya nga 'yung details, hindi ko pa masyadong alam. Hindi tayo nadali o na-overwhelm, kasi hindi tayo nakunan ng baril at hindi nila nalapitan ang tropang nasawi," Tan had said.
The information has also been confirmed in the statement released by Col. Ed Arevalo, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office.
In a statement, released by the AFP Public Affairs Office, aside from the firefight in Sitio Kan Jalul, another encounter broke at 1:50 p.m. in Sitio Kugan, Brgy. Bakong.
Sporadic skirmishes between the warring government troops and rebels continued all through Tuesday.
Arevalo had also said that another fight broke at 3:45 as an army troop led by Lt. Col. Samuel Manzano had killed two Abu Sayyaf bandits, after a 30-minute clash in Brgy. Kuttong, in Talipao. Two others were wounded in the earlier clash. It said the extent of Abu Sayyaf casualties was unclear.
Tan had also said that, "During firefight, may napipinsala talaga e. Who knows, baka marami ring nadale sa kanila, hindi lang natin nakikita. Kumbaga yung 12, masakit na namatayan tayo ng ganun. But in war, in battle, you can never predict the result. Malay mo ang patay sa kanila bente or trenta."
The AFP had assured the public that no slain and wounded soldiers were left behind. According to the AFP, everyone was recovered and protected to avoid mutilation from terrorists though the names of the fallen soldiers were withheld because the families would have to be notified first. - Kami Media