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8 troops hurt in Sulu blast

Mario J. Mallari

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Eight military personnel were wounded after an improvised explosive device (IED) they recovered from the Abu Sayyaf Group accidentally exploded in Sulu, a task force commander yesterday said.

Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the explosion occurred while soldiers were conducting clearing operation following a firefight with ASG bandits last Saturday in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul town.

“The IED that accidentally exploded was among the war materiel the troops recovered following the clash with around 40 Abu Sayyaf bandits led by sub-leaders Almujer Yaddah, Sonny Boy Sajirin and Ellam Hasirin in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul,” Pabayo said.

He added the wounded troops belong to the Army’s 1st Scout Ranger Battalion.

The military official said the soldiers are now recuperating at the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Barangay Busbus, Jolo, Sulu.

Meanwhile, Western Mindanao Command head Lt. Gen. Arnel de la Vega said the troops will continue to exhaust all means to contain the bandits and limit their movement.

“We are continuously intensifying the conduct of focused military operations, in coordination with the local government and the people of Sulu, to neutralize the terrorist group,” de la Vega added.