THREE Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed in two separate clashes Sunday, May 16, with government security forces in the province of Basilan, the military reported Monday, May 17.

Lieutenant General Corleto Vinluan Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said members of the Joint Task Force (JTF)-Basilan were conducting focused military operation when they clashed with a group of Abu Sayyaf bandits led by mid-level leader Pasil Bayali around 7:40 a.m. Sunday in Sitio Kura-Kura, Baiwas village, Sumisip, Basilan.

Vinluan said the firefight lasted for about 30 minutes, after which the bandits scampered in different directions, leaving the remains of their two slain companions.

Brigadier General Domingo Gobway, JTF-Basilan commander, said another firefight ensued while the reinforcing troops were conducting clearing operations in the same area.

The clash lasted for about 15 minutes and resulted in the death of another Abu Sayyaf bandit and the recovery of one M-16 Armalite rifle.

Gobway said they have yet to establish the identities of the slain Abu Sayyaf bandits.

No casualty was reported on the government troops.

Gobway said the troops are tracking down the rest of the bandits who scampered to different directions.

A total of Abu Sayyaf bandits were neutralized since January in Basilan province.

Four of the bandits were killed, 13 have surrendered, and one was arrested. (SunStar Zamboanga)

Source: SunStar (