An Abu Sayyaf Group sub-commander and his aide were killed in an encounter with government troops in Sulu Tuesday, a military spokesperson said.
1st Lt. Steffani Cacho, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) spokesperson, said that ASG sub-commander Jul Asbi Jalmaani and Mudar Hadjail, reportedly his trusted man, were killed in an encounter in Barangay Buton in Indanan town in Sulu. The military official also said that seven other ASG members were either wounded or killed in the clash, based on information from civilians.
The military had earlier reported casualties including three Marines who were killed Tuesday in Indanan after a series of gunfights with a hundred ASG bandits which started Monday. The military had been conducting offensive operations against the group in a bid to rescue three kidnapped International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) volunteers. The bodies of the slain soldiers were brought to Zamboanga early Wednesday and were airlifted to Manila later that day.
A total of 22 Marines were also reported wounded during the encounter, seven of whom reportedly sustained serious wounds.
The three volunteers, Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, Swiss Andreas Notter, and Italian Eugenio Vagni, were abducted in January by the Abu Sayyaf while on a humanitarian mission in Jolo, Sulu. Report from Leila Vicente, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga