The military said one suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was killed, and two soldiers were injured in a firefight in Alicia, Zamboanga Sibugay, Sunday.
Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said Monday government forces from the 44th Infantry Battalion and Naval Special Operations had an encounter with an undetermined number of suspected ASG members in Barangay Lapaz at 3:15 a.m. of September 6.
The gunbattle lasted for 30 minutes, which killed a local terrorist named Idris Aquilon and wounded two soldiers and three civilians.
The military said those injured are being treated at the province’s hospitals.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Don Templonuevo, commanding officer of the 44IB, his troops received a report that suspicious individuals were in the area, prompting them to launch an operation.
Aquillon is an alleged member of the Dawlah Islamiya-Abu Sayyaf Group, said the military. He was allegedly a close associate of Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama who is based in Basilan.
The encounter site was allegedly the hideout of Indama, according to authorities.
According to Joint Task Force commander Major General Generoso Ponio, several local terrorists were believed to be injured and probably died due to loss of blood after the gun battle.
The military troops also recovered three rifle grenades, one magazine, one bandolier, and several explosive materials and ammunition at the encounter site.
“The public has nothing to fear because our troops on the ground are on top of the situation,” said Ponio as he also warned the public to be vigilant.
“However, we enjoin everyone to remain vigilant in their surroundings and report to proper authorities suspicious individuals that may take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis situation to sow fear and terror among the peace-loving people of Zamboanga Peninsula,” he added.
Meanwhile, WestMinCom chief Major General Corleto Vinluan Jr. promised that joint task forces would continue to go after the remaining local terrorists to end terrorism in Western and Central Mindanao.
“Nonetheless, we still encourage them to lay down their arms in order to finally have peace in the region,” Vinluan said.