The number of fatalities in the clash between Marines and Abu Sayyaf members in Patikul, Sulu, rose to six and those injured to 13 as government troops continue to pursue the bandit group, the military said Monday.

Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said the remains of four slain soldiers arrived in Zamboanga City early Monday on a Navy vessel.

Six of 13 injured soldiers were brought to the Camp Navarro Station Hospital, also in Zamboanga City, for further treatment while the others remain at the Trauma Hospital in Jolo, he said.

Members of the 6th Marine Battalion Landing Team clashed with Abu Sayyaf members under Radullan Sahiron and followers of Tahil Sali in Brgy. Bakong around 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

The troops, numbering 80 to 90, were then verifying reports on the presence of kidnap victims, Cabangbang said.

“Noong una nakabangga nila (Marines) ‘yung tropa ni Radullan Sahiron, mga more or less 60 ‘yun, tapos nag-reinforce si Tahil Sali umabot ng mga more or less 100, umabot ng mga limang oras ‘yung fighting,” Cabangbang said in a phone interview.

Also killed in the clash were two armed men, one of whom was identified as a certain “Kaisar.”

There was no reported fighting as of Monday morning but troops are still pursuing the bandits, Cabangbang said. (John Roson)

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