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Soldier in Basilan clash dies


MANILA, Philippines – A soldier died after succumbing to shrapnel wounds following an encounter between an elite Army unit and suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members in Basilan Thursday, March 15, the military's Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said.
Westmincom spokesman Lt Col Randy Cabangbang said the soldier was “critically wounded” and was being transported to a hospital in Zamboanga City early Thursday evening when he died. The military has not identified him.
"He died due to shrapnel wounds," Cabangbang said.
Three other soldiers were slightly wounded, according to Cabangbang.
Elements of the 12th Scout Ranger Company were pursing a faction of the ASG led by Khair Mundos in Sumisip town when they chanced upon a group of armed men around 11 am Thursday,” according to Cabangbang.
Troops from the 10th Scout Ranger Company, who were sent to the site to reinforce the team, were also attacked in Sitio Bohe Piyat, Barangay Baiwas, around 5 pm Thursday, resulting in 4 casualties.
Supported by attack helicopters and artillery, government forces launched the offensive operations based on information that Barangay Baiwas is the lair of Mundos and another notorious ASG leader, Furuji Indama, who are wanted for murder and kidnapping. The ASG is also using the place to make explosives, a military report said.
The US government's Reward for Justice offers up to $500,000 bounty for information that will lead to the arrest of Mundos, described as a “key leader and financier” of the ASG.
Following his arrest in 2004, he confessed “to having arranged the transfer of funds from Al-Qa'ida to ASG leader Khadaffy Janjalani” to be used in bombing and other terrorist acts throughout Mindanao. He bolted a Cotabato jail in 2007.
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David Y. Santos Rappler.com | March 17, 2012 | Article Link

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