9 hurt in Basilan clash
MANILA (UPDATED/CORRECTED) – At least 9 soldiers were injured in a clash in Brgy. Colonia, Lamitan, Basilan Thursday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.
AFP Public Information Office spokesman Major Ramon Zagala said the firefight, which lasted for about 2 hours, was between the AFP and a group composed of fighters from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Abu Sayyaf Group, and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Capt. Jefferson Somera, spokesman for the 1st Infantry Batallion, said the joint group was composed of about 150 armed men.
Residents in the area have been evacuated.
The AFP also retracted its earlier statement that 3 soldiers were killed in the encounter.
Meanwhile, AFP spokesperson Domingo Tutaan said the Basilan clash is not a spillover of the ongoing standoff between the Armed Forces and MNLF rebels in Zamboanga City. -- Report from Zhander Cayabyab, dzMM