Ten Abu Sayaff rebels and seven soldiers, including a Marine officer, were killed in an encounter in Patikul, Sulu Thursday morning, the military reported.
Capt. Ma. Rowena Muyuela, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesperson said soldiers from the 2nd Marine Brigade encountered the Abu Sayyaf group under sub-leader Hairula Asbang at about 6:30 a.m. during patrol operations in Sitio Sangay, Barangay Buhanginan, Patikul, Sulu.
Muyuela said the initial encounter left 10 militants dead, although only one body was recovered. She disclosed that most of the government casualties were hit by mortar shells fired by the bandits.
“The marines are presently conducting follow on law enforcement operation in coordination with the police to locate and neutralize the ASG,” Muyuela said.