Two Abu Sayyaf members were killed while at least 10 other people, including civilians, were injured when government troops clashed with the bandit group in Al Barka, Basilan, on Sunday, the military said.

Two bandits were killed and at least two others were wounded, said Capt. Maria Rowena Muyuela, spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command.

Initial reports from the Joint Task Group Basilan indicate that three soldiers suffered slight injuries, Muyuela said.

Five civilians, including two young children, were wounded after being shot at by Abu Sayyaf members during the clash, said 1Lt. Sally Christine Magno, civil-military operations officer of the Army’s 104th Brigade.

They were identified as Jumiran Misa, 52; Radisa Misa, 18; Sanima Husien, 29; Asma Husien, 2; and Sarfe Misa, 5; all residents of Sitio Peggesan, Brgy. Guinanta.

Elements of the Joint Task Group Basilan encountered Abu Sayyaf members led by Basir Kasaran in Brgy. Kuhon around 5:45 a.m.

As the fighting went on, bandits also shot at civilians near the encounter site around 11:35 a.m., so soldiers conducted rescue operations, Magno said.

After rescuing the civilians, soldiers brought them to a hospital in Lamitan City for first aid then transferred them to another facility in Isabela City, she said.

Sporadic firefights, meanwhile, went on until 1 p.m., Magno said.

The clash is a result of efforts of the multi-agency Task Force Kasanyangan, which aims to address the prevailing insurgency problem and revive governance in Al Barka, a known Abu Sayyaf stronghold, she said. (John Roson)

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