MANILA, May 17, 2017 — Government troops killed two Abu Sayyaf members in an encounter in Patikul Hill, Patikul town this morning.
Joint Task Force Sulu head Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana said the troops encountered an estimated 15 bandits at around 7 a.m., triggering a five-minute gunfight which resulted in the death of two Abu Sayyaf men.
This brought the number of slain lawless elements to 49 since February 21.
Sobejana said troops have recovered the bodies of the slain bandits and are in the process of identifying them as of this time.
Meanwhile, Sobejana said 42 of the bandits have been wounded since February.
The number of Abu Sayyaf members who have surrendered from January up to May has been placed at 14, he added.
This brings the number of surrendered bandits in ZAMBASULTA (Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi) to 49, while arrested lawless elements were placed at 22.
“We will sustain this effort and by June 30, if they are not totally eliminated, at least the threat will be reduced to an insignificant level,” Sobejana said.
Also recovered during this period were 94 firearms, which include one .50 caliber machinegun and a 60mm mortar.
During his assumption as Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP) chief-of-staff last Decemner, General Eduardo Año pledged to eradicate the Abu Sayyaf by June this year.
He also placed the remaining number of ASG bandits in his area of operation to around 80 to 120. (Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)