ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Two members of the government militia were killed while five others, including two suspected bandits, were wounded in an encounter between security forces and suspected Abu Sayyaf militants in Sumisip town, Basilan province on Friday.
The military troopers, along with members of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit, were responding to a report about the presence of armed men in Sitio Bohe, Barangay Sukaten, when the encounter broke out, said Col. Carlito Galvez, commander of the Basilan’s 104th Infantry Brigade.
Galvez said the firefight, which erupted at about 6:30 a.m, lasted for more than 30 minutes and left two paramilitary troopers – Duminta Gulinda and Bejo Sampang – killed, and three militiamen – Almirin Pantao, Omar Jadjales and Oloy Malanji – wounded.
The wounded troopers were brought to the hospital in Isabela City for treatmen.
He said the bandits, two of them were reported wounded, escaped toward the jungle. He said the armed men were under the leadership of “Kotatong Balaman.”
The military identified the two wounded alleged bandits as Samir Balaman and Apet Muril.
Lt. Col. Leondro Dacumos, commander of the 64th Infantry Battalion, said his men launched the operation following information from the villagers that the bandits were planning to attack a water system project.
Dacumos expressed belief more militants were wounded as traces of blood were seen along their escape route. – With Mike Frialde