SULU - Two members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed and 3 others wounded in two separate encounters between the military and ASG rebels in Panamao, Sulu early morning Wednesday, the Philippine Army said.
A soldier was also slightly wounded by shrapnel and is currently recuperating at Camp Bautista Hospital in Jolo.
The first encounter occurred past 7:00 a.m. in Barangay Pugad Manaul, Old Panamao in Sulu. Around 30 ASG rebels and the Bravo Company of the 35th Infantry Battalion engaged in a firefight, where the two ASG rebels were killed, and a soldier was wounded.
The military retrieved one of the bodies while the other was seen being carried away by the ASG.
A second encounter occurred past 9:00 a.m. between the same group of ASG rebels and the Bravo Company of the 10th Infantry Battalion in an adjacent sitio, also in Barangay Pugad Manaul.
Three ASG rebels were reportedly wounded in the second encounter.
The military said the ASG troops are reportedly holding some Malaysian and Indonesian hostages.
This is the second day that troops engaged the ASG in Sulu. On Tuesday, the Muktadil brothers, Nixon and Brown, were killed in an operation in Sulu.
Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, attributed the successive engagements to cooperation of residents.
"Our troops will continue to pursue the terrorists until we deal a crippling blow to their ranks and leadership and rescue the remaining hostages," Dela Vega said.