2 Soldiers Killed In Abu Sayyaf Ambush In South RP

July 17, 2007 at 11:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 17 Jul) – Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants attacked a Philippine marine patrol Tuesday morning, killing two soldiers and wounding another in the southern island of Jolo, officials said.

Officials said the attackers, numbering about 50, ambushed the soldiers while they were patrolling the village of Tugas in Patikul town at around 6 a.m. The ambushers also carted two automatic rifles from the slain soldiers.

Last week, Abu Sayyaf and Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels also ambushed marine soldiers in nearby Basilan island and killed 14 of them – ten beheaded.

‘There is an ongoing operation in Jolo against the Abu Sayyaf terrorists responsible for this attack,” Army Maj. Eugene Batara, a regional military spokesman, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Last month, the US Pacific commander, Adm. Timothy Keating, in a surprised visit in Jolo island, inspected a captured Abu Sayyaf mountain base in Tugas village in Patikul town, where the soldiers were ambushed.

Troops were pursuing Abu Sayyaf militants tied to al-Qaeda terror network and Jemaah Islamiya bombers on the island, about 950 km south of Manila.

The US is helping the Philippines defeat terrorism and have deployed hundreds of American troops in Jolo and other parts of restive southern region.

Army Lt. Gen. Eugenio Cedo, Western Mindanao Command chief, was quoted Monday by The Australian as saying that his group is close to capturing Jemaah Islamiya explosives expert Dulmatin hiding in Jolo island after an informant contacted the military offering to surrender the 2002 Bali bombing mastermind.

Security forces are also tracking down another Bali bomber Umar Patek, who is being coddled by the Abu Sayyaf group, in Jolo.

Cedo said he received a message last week from a member of the former rebel group, Moro National Liberation Front, who promised he could lead government soldiers to Dulmatin’s hideout in Jolo island, about 950 km south of Manila. “I think we have a good prospect of finding him,” Cedo said. “I received this message saying Dulmatin would be surrendered to us.”

He said the informant had even pinpointed the precise location of Dulmatin’s lair in Jolo island.

The US has offered a $10 million bounty for Dulmatin’s capture and $1 million for Patek’s head.

The Bali bombings killed 202 people, mostly foreigners, including 88 Australian holiday-makers.

The Philippine military, backed by US intelligence, mounted new offensive early this month against the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya terrorists. In many instances, villagers reported seeing heavily armed US soldiers in armored vehicles, with Filipino troops.

The offensive, codenamed Oplan: Ultimatum 2, is aimed at capturing – dead or alive – leaders of the Abu Sayyaf and the two Jemaah Islamiya bombers. Indonesian authorities also tagged the Jemaah Islamiya as behind the 2003 JW Marriott hotel car bombing that killed a dozen people and wounded over 150 others.

The US military provides technical intelligence to local troops because they are not allowed to participate in combat operation against the Abu Sayyaf or Jemaah Islamiya, both included in the US terror list. (Mindanao Examiner)

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