The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - Day-long clashes that erupted between elite government troops and Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sumisip, Basilan killed over 20 people, military officials said Thursday.
The clashes started when members of the 11th Scout Ranger Company and the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion encountered an undetermined number of bandits in Barangay Upper Cabengbeng at about 7:30 a.m., said Capt. Albert Caber, spokesman of the Philippine Army's 1st Infantry Division.
The soldiers were securing the area after another group of soldiers was harassed by the bandits in the same area on Wednesday.
Thursday's clashes left at least eight elite troopers killed and six more wounded, according to a report from Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command.
Meanwhile, at least nine Abu Sayyaf men were killed in the clash. Cabangbang identified the fatalities as Ustadz Hassan Asnawi, Jumaidi Asnawi (son of Hassan), Nurham Asnawi, Juhair Aliman, Kaobut Mastul, Hudjata Marain, Meloy Patpi, Aka Balong and a still unidentified bandit. At least eight bandits were also wounded, Cabangbang said.
At 1:30 p.m. Thursday, the Candiis Detachment of the 20th Special Forces Company and 4th Special Forces Battalion was also harassed by ASG bandits in the same barangay.
Troops from the 32nd Infantry Battalion sent to secure the detachment were also ambushed. At least four soldiers were killed in the clash while another one was wounded, Caber said.
Just recently, armed men believed to be ASG bandits also attacked rubber tappers in Basilan, killing six.