Aquino visits wake of Marine soldiers slain in Sulu encounter with Abu Sayyaf Group

May 28, 2013 10:21 pm 

MANILA, May 28 — President Benigno S. Aquino III visited the wake Tuesday of the seven Marines who died in Sulu on Saturday following an encounter with the members of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

During his visit at the Philippine Marines Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, the President also extended financial assistance to the families of the soldiers by handing them P250,000 check each.

The Armed Forces said soldiers from the 2nd Marine Brigade, while pursuing Abu Sayyaf group believed to be holding captive the wife of a marine soldier, encountered a large group of its members at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday at Tugay, Patikul town in Sulu.

Ensuing gun-fight lasted more than one hour killing seven Marine soldiers, including a lieutenant and nine Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

Nine marines and 10 Abu Sayyaf members were also wounded.

The AFP said the terrorists fled after the fighting and the military has launched a pursuit operation against the group.

The military reported that helicopters were dispatched to evacuate the wounded soldiers who were brought to the trauma hospital in Jolo, Sulu.

The soldiers involved in the incident were on “route security” when the encounter occurred contrary to police initial report saying they were ambushed.

The Abu Sayyaf, founded in the 1990s, has carried out a number of high-profile attacks including kidnapping particularly of foreign nationals. The group is also involved in bombing attacks.

The military estimates Abu Sayyaf’s membership at around 300, mostly based in southern Philippine provinces of Sulu and Basilan. (PNA)

HBC/PCOO/SSC

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