MANILA, Philippines – Two Scout Rangers were killed in a mission to rescue Abu Sayyaf hostages in Sulu on Sunday, May 12, the military said.
Heavy clashes resumed in the island as troops stepped up pursuit and rescue operations after the bandit group kidnapped two female cops.
“We are sad to report that two of our soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice today in an attempt to rescue the remaining kidnap victims,” said Major Gen Arnel Delavega, chief the Western Mindanao Command.
The hour-long clashes on Sunday was intense and included air strikes. The military said the elite Army unit encountered 4 major units of the Abu Sayyaf in barangay Tanum.
The military believes it encountered the group that had the hostages, including the two female cops.
Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders Hajan Sawadjaan, Idang Susukan, Injam Yadah, and Ben Tattoh were believed to be present at the clash site.
The military estimated about 10 bandits were killed in the clashes, including Sawadjaan's brother.
Island commander Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejano said pursuit operations are ongoing as of Monday morning.
“Our actions are very limited and calculated since we do not want to harm the kidnap victims,” Sobejana said.
The bandit group asked for P5 million ransom payment.
"We will sustain our efforts until the last kidnap victim is rescued and the Abu Sayyaf Group is neutralized. – Rappler.com