2 ASG bandits, 1 soldier killed in encounter

TWO ISLAMIC militants and one soldier were killed following an hour-long firefight between government troops and Abu Sayyaf (ASG) bandits erupted late Wednesday afternoon in a remote village in Basilan, military reports said.

Reports reaching Camp Aguinaldo said that the latest encounter between troops and ASG bandits occured at around 4:30 p.m. in the vicinity of Barangay Libug in Sumisip town.

The reports said that elements of the Fourth Scout Ranger Company, led Captain Fritz Gerald Montemor, were on patrol at the said area when it chanced upon a group of 30 ASG bandits under Furuji Indama.

A firefight quickly ensued that resulted to the fatal wounding of one of the soldiers, identified as Private Arnel Conchas, and the killing of Colonel Alexander Macarion, commander of Special Operation Task Force Basilan, and two ASG bandits.

Macario said the Conchas died while being treated, while the two killed ASG bandits were dragged and to be buried within 24 hours as part of Muslim tradition by their retreating comrades.

“Government troops are continuously pursuing ASG bandits that are responsible for the series of kidnappings and bombings in Basilan and one kidnap victim still remains in the hands of kidnappers,” Macario said.

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