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ARMM Governor Urges All-out Offensive vs. Abu Sayyaf

After six soldiers died in an ambush in Sumisip, Basilan early Sunday, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman recommended an all-out military offensive against the Abu Sayaff Group (ASG).

In a GMA News Online article, Hataman said he and his team were supposed to go to Sumisip from Isabela to visit the completion of the Basilan circumferential road when they were informed that an ambush transpired.

The ambush took place at around 7:30 a.m. on Sunday as the soldiers were conducting a security patrol in Sitio Mompol, Barangay Libug.  The troops were attacked by around 20 bandits led by a certain Radzmi Jannatul and a certain Katatung.

Hataman said the ASG may have found a pattern in the soldiers’ patrol route.

The governor dismissed the possibility that he was the target of the ASG attack but he admitted that he could have been caught in the ambush had he arrived earlier, the news report said.

After the incident, Hataman and his team, along with the Army’s 104th Brigade commander Col. Rolando Bautista, went to the ambush site.

“It was devastating, the soldiers had almost nowhere to run,” the governor said, noting the ASG had managed to surround the troops.

“We highly condemn this cowardly act of [the] ASG. This road project is meant to address hardships of the people here who feel they are neglected, I am recommending an all-out offensive against these terrorist groups,” the governor said.

The 80-kilometer Basilan circumferential road, which began construction in 2011, will connect nearly half of the province’s main highways. Hataman vowed the project will be finished soon despite the incident.