ZAMBOANGA CITY - Military officers led by Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban, Joint Task Force Comet chief, gave funeral honors to seven soldiers of the Philippine Marines Corps who were killed in a battle with suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Indanan town in Sulu province last week.
Last Saturday, PMC troops and police’s Special Action Force (SAF) encountered an estimated 200 ASG members, reportedly followers of Gumbahali Jumdail alias Doctor Abu and Albader Parad.
The military officials said however that even with the heavy casualties on their part they will continue to run after the group of Parad who is reportedly holding International Committee of the Red Cross staff member, Italian Eugenio Vagni.
The bloody skirmishes in Sitio Tanduh Pugot in Barangay Sionogan started Thursday, where initially two Marines soldiers were killed while seven were wounded.
On Saturday, six more were killed among government troops including a SAF member, while 10 Marines soldiers were wounded including two officers. Two policemen and a member of the civilian emergency force were also reportedly wounded.
Armed Forces’ chief Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado is set to pay his last respect to the seven slain Marines soldiers on Monday. Posthumous awards are also set to be given to Sergeants Wilhem Alvarez, Rafael Quinones, Willy Cabilite; Privates First Class Pedochino, Dioan Tamayo, Marlon Quilap and Randy Sacro through their families.
Ibrado will reportedly also visit the 17 soldiers who were all wounded in the Indanan town clash and would also recognize their gallantry.
A military source said Ibrado will accompany the transport of soldiers who sustained serious injuries to V. Luna Medical Center in Quezon City.
The military meanwhile said efforts to rescue Vagni would continue and there would be no let up in their operations.