Military imposes naval blockade in Basilan to prevent ASG escape

August 14, 2009 10:09 am 

MANILA, August 14 –- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has imposed naval blockade in Basilan to prevent Abu Sayyaf bandits from fleeing the island-province to elude pursuing government security forces, military officials said today.

Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo said the Navy has deployed its assets in Basilan and surrounding seas to guard the area from possible escape by the terrorists.

“The Navy is providing barrier patrol along the area, along the perimeter, seas surrounding Basilan to prevent the escape,” said Arevalo.

Among the naval assets available would be patrol gunboats, patrol craft and the state-of-the-art multi-purpose attack craft or MPAC.

Arevalo, however, said there is no exact number of Navy ships to be deployed in Basilan where day-long clashes erupted on Wednesday between government security forces and the Abu Sayyaf group that resulted in the killing of 23 government troops and 31 Abu Sayyaf bandits.

Brawner said the military has intensified the conduct of pursuit operations against the fleeing Abu Sayyaf band with the implementation of naval blockade in Basilan to prevent the rebels from leaving the island-province.

Clearing operations are also ongoing within the captured Abu Sayaff camp which yielded several ready-to-use improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

“We are presently conducting pursuit operations to go after the remnants of the Abu Sayyaf group. We are also checking the area if there were still IEDs and high-powered firearms left,” said Brawner.

“We have ordered naval blockade to make sure they cannot leave the island,” said Brawner.(PNA)/V3/MM/

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