MANILA, Philippines (PHI INQUIRER)— Six soldiers, including one junior Army officer, were killed in clashes with Abu Sayyaf in Basilan on Sunday morning, the military said.
A team of soldiers from the 64th Infantry Battalion was on security patrol when they were caught in a firefight with about 20 heavily-armed militants led by a certain Radzmi Jannatul past 7a.m., said Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc, Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office chief.
The gun battle lasted for 45 minutes.
The soldiers were deployed to secure a development project, Cabunoc added.
Colonel Rolando Bautista, commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade, said reinforcements have been sent to pursue the bandits.
“I am saddened by this senseless violence against our soldiers who are helping deliver public services for the people,” Bautista said in a statement.
He said criminal charges will be filed against the group for harassing security forces deployed to protect workers of the 64-kilometer project, constructed with the assistance of the Saudi government. With Kristine Sabillo, INQUIRER.net