A suspected Abu Sayyaf bandit was killed while four soldiers were wounded after an hour-long firefight between the military and the terrorist group in the town of Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan Friday morning.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay said the military launched an operation after receiving information that terrorists were holed up in the village of Bohe Pahu, Ungkaya Pukan town.
Government forces were met with resistance by the bandit group, resulting in a firefight.
"The troops were conducting reconnaissance in response to the reported presence of Abu Sayyaf members in the area of engagement. Upon sensing the movement of the troops, the bandits initiated the armed confrontation," Petinglay said.
The military recovered the body of a suspected bandit in the encounter site, as well as high-powered firearms.
Petinglay said some sachets of illegal drugs were also found in the area where the bandits hid.
Four soldiers wounded in the clash were immediately airlifted to Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City for medical treatment.
The military has been scouring the Sumisip area and nearby towns in a bid to rescue three remaining Vietnamese nationals that the bandit group abducted off Sibago Island in November 2016.
Six Vietnamese nationals were originally seized in an attack on their cargo ship, but two of them were recently beheaded while one was safely rescued by government forces.