The Abu Sayyaf attacked a coastal village in Basilan at noon yesterday in an apparent retaliation for last Sunday’s helicopter and naval assault on its leaders led by Nurhassan Jamiri in the outskirts of Al Barka town.
The Abu Sayyaf militants, however, withdrew after heavy fighting with civilian volunteers, reinforced by elements of the Army’s 18th Infantry Battalion, in Barangay Matata, Ungkaya Pukan town.
“The civilian volunteers and Army elements from the Alpha Company repulsed the retaliatory attack aimed at relieving military pressure against the band of Jamiri in nearby Al Barka,” Lt. Col. John Paolo Perez, 18th IB commander, said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Last Sunday, intelligence operatives of the 18th IB sighted 11 Abu Sayyaf leaders and members in Barangay Cambog, Al Barka town aboard five motorcycles while heading toward Barangay Bato-Bato.
The group proceeded to the Kalang Sibubong sand bar, a kilometer southwest of Barangay Bato-Bato, where their presence was subsequently confirmed by *** *** intelligence agents disguised as ****.
But before an M520 attack helicopter could conduct an air assault, Jamiri and his men were able to break into two groups and quickly fled aboard two motorized pump boats.
The attack helicopter, however, hit one of the pump boats, but its passengers were able to jump out and swam toward a mangrove area in Barangay Cambog, an area controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Perez said they believe Jamiri was wounded.
Article Source: The Philippine Star