MANILA -- Officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) confirmed reports that two civilians were wounded by shrapnel from a rocket launched by a MG-520 helicopter gunship of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
AFP Spokesperson Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala clarified that it was an accident, and that they did not intentionally launch the rocket in a public place.
Zagala said that around 3:00 in the afternoon Sunday, volunteers from Bantay Dagat asked for help after they spotted Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) Commander Nurhassan Jamiri , along with 11 other men, on board a pumpboat near Al-Barka, Basilan.
PAF responded with an attack helicopter.
Unfortunately, the rebels went to a beach, where the two victims - a 12-year old and a 18-year-old, were having a picnic.
Soldiers immediately rushed the two victims to a hospital.
The AFP failed to capture the rebels because they hid themselves among the mangrove trees in the area. -- with a report from Erwin Sevidal, dzMM