Marines to continue pursuit of ASG in Sulu despite of Ramadan
MANILA, Philippines – A ranking military official on Sunday said that pursuit operations against the al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf (ASG) in Sulu will continue even during the observation of Ramadan, Moslem’s holiest month.
Marine Commandant, Major General Rustico Guerrero said this following the debacle suffered by some elements of the 11th Marine Batallion Landing Team (MBLT) in a firefight with ASG bandits in Sulu last Thursday.
At least seven marines, five of them were reportedly beheaded by ASG bandits, and 21 others were wounded in the said encounter that took place in the hinterlands of Patikul town in Sulu, a known bailwick of extremist group.
“As far as we are concerned, this is an active defense actually… and pursuing lawless armed group does not necessitate that we have to stop because its Ramadan,” Guerrero told defense reporters in a phone patched interview.
The marine commandant still maintains that despite of their continued operations against the Abu Sayyaf, their operations will not disrupt the celebration of Ramadan by the pre-dominant Muslim residents of Sulu.
The marine commandant added that their pursuit operation in Sulu will be directed solely against the Abu Sayyaf.
Guerrero also added that he had already dispacthed a ‘study team’ to look and check into some possible ‘tactical lapses’ by their troops that resulted into the walloping of an entire platoon of marine troops at the hands of the Abu Sayyaf.
Despite of the debacle, the marine commandant said that they saw no need to inject more troops in the area, noting that they still have enough number of troops in the area to run after the ASG.
The bodies of the seven marines that were killed and then mutilated by ASG were already flown to Manila by a military cargo and were given full military honors upon arrival at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.
President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, personally meet the arrival of the bodies, and vowed to crushed the ASG. The fallen marines will be given later a military Gold Cross medal.