The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - Three soldiers were killed late Saturday by unidentified gunmen in Lamitan City, Basilan, an Army spokesman said.
Capt. Alberto Caber, spokesman of the Army's 1st Infantry Division,said the three soldiers belonging to the Alpha Company of the 32nd Infantry Battalion were on board two motorcycles traversing the Basilan circumferential road in Barangay Baas when they were ambushed by four people also on motorcycles.
The ambush happened past 4 p.m. after the soldiers left their detachment in Sitio Mellec, Barangay Bohebessey to buy food downtown.
The asailants, armed with .45-caliber pistols, shot at the victims as they were about to overtake their motorcycles, Caber said.
The victims were rushed to the st. Peter Hospital but were pronounced dead.
Caber said the suspects were alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group out to agitate government troops a day before the historic signing of the framework agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Manila.
Lt. Col. Johnson Jemar Aseron, commanding officer of the 32nd IB, said the three soldiers were active "operators of peace and developmentoperations in the area."
“We will be coordinating fully with the local PNP to help them intheir investigation for the early arrest of the suspects," Aseronsaid, as more troops were deployed to the area to track down the killers.