GOVERNMENT troops clashed with members of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group allegedly plotting attacks on military and civilian targets in Maluso town in Basilan early morning yesterday.
No one was reported killed on the Abu Sayyaf side but some of them may have been killed or injured based on bloodstains at the encounter site, according to Maj. Arvin Encinas, spokesman of the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command based in Zamboanga City.
Encinas said the firefight lasted for about 20 minutes, after which the terrorists withdrew. During clearing operations, Encinas said the troops recovered at the encounter site six improvised bombs.
Encinas said troops from the Army’s 68th Infantry Battalion were conducting security patrol in Barangay Calang Canas at around 1:50 am when they clashed with about 15 Abu Sayyaf men under ASG leader Furuji Indama.
“We conducted security patrol in the area after receiving information from the citizens that the group of Furuji Indanao will conduct IED (improvised explosive device) attacks. We had preventive measures, leading to the encounter,” said Encinas.
Encinas said Indama’s group is planning to attack military camps and urbanized areas in Basilan.
Asked when the group intends to carry out the attacks, he said: “Within this month, that is their plan.”
Encinas said the Abu Sayyaf incurred casualties during the firefight based on bloodstains seen in the area. “But we have no confirmation, we have not recovered bodies from their sides,” he said.
No one was reported killed or injured on the military side.