MANILA—Six people were killed, including four soldiers, while 17 other soldiers were wounded as military forces and suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists clashed in Patikul town, Sulu, on Friday morning, according to state forces.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) said the encounter happened in Sitio Lagaron, Barangay Kan-Ague, at about past 8 a.m.
There were about 40 people on the suspected terrorists’ side, the WesMinCom said. The encounter lasted for 40 minutes.
Among those killed were two suspected terrorists. Three of the dead soldiers were taken to Zamboanga City, WesMinCom spokesperson Arvin John Encinas said.
Eleven of the wounded soldiers are recovering at a Sulu hospital, while six others were transported to Zamboanga.
The WesMinCom in a statement condemned the incident.
Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the rebels incurred "heavy casualties."
The encounter happened, as Congress sought to pass the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 seeking to arrest suspected terrorists, with activists and human rights groups saying that the measure could to suppress civil liberties.
State forces are currently undergoing operations against the suspected terrorist groups. — Report from Leizel Lacastesantos, ABS-CBN News