Two suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists were reportedly killed following a clash with government security forces in Patikul, Sulu early Thursday morning, a regional military commander said.
Citing field reports, Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Force Group Sulu, said the firefight erupted around 7:30 a.m. when elements of the Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion engaged with 20 terrorists in Barangay Latih.
The firefight lasted for 30 minutes, Arrojado said, with government troops delivering two rounds of 81-mm mortar toward the Abu Sayyaf position.
He said that based on intelligence information they got, two Abu Sayyaf men were killed. The bodies, however, were not recovered.
No government casualties were reported in the incident, he added.
Arrojado said the terrorist group was headed by Alkam Udjaman, reportedly the chief of the outer security team of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Hatib Sawadjaan.
He said Sawadjaan’s group is believed to be holding Dutchman Elwood Horn, one of the two wildlife photographers seized in Tawi-Tawi in February 2012.
Authorities, meanwhile, are still verifying earlier reports that two Canadians, a Norweagian and a Filipina abducted from a resort in Samal island in Davao del Norte last Sept. 21 are being held by the terrorist group in Sulu.
The Abu Sayyaf earlier demanded a P4-billion ransom for the four kidnap victims. The government, however, maintained that it does not negotiate with terrorists.