An Army officer died while six other soldiers were wounded in a 3-hour firefight against the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sumisip, Basilan on Thursday, the military said.
Capt. Clinton Capio was part of a Special Forces platoon that conducted an operation against high-value targets, said Col. Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces public affairs chief.
According to Arevalo, initial intelligence reports said two of the unnamed high-value targets were killed, but the information was still being validated.
Arevalo however, said the Abu Sayyaf put out a fierce fight with sporadic sniper firing until the late afternoon, indicating that the terrorists were protecting someone of value.
This, sources said, was also the reason why the casualties were not extricated right away.
The remains of Capio will be flown to Manila from Zamboanga on Saturday and transported to Baguio City thereafter.