At least 20 Abu Sayyaf terrorist members were killed following a deadly airstrike and massive ground operation conducted by the Philippine Armed Forces at Sumipsip, Basilan on Thursday.
According to Lt. Col. Andrew Bacala Jr., Army 4th Special Forces Battalion commander and leader of the ground strike team, airstrikes by FA-50 fighters on the camp of sub-leader Furuji Indama in Brgy. Pamatsaken completely took the bandits by surprised.
“The ASGs were shocked. They abandoned most of their personal belongings and left unfinished meals at their encampment,” the Manila Bulletin quoted him as saying. “The supersonic jets’ swooshing sound may have sounded as a whisper of death to the ASGs.”
The airstrikes were then followed up by artillery fire and a ground operation which resulted in the overrunning of the camp.
Joint Task Force Basilan commander Col. Juvymax Uy said that unlike before, the bandits engaged the government forces in a short firefight before retreating. He said this is a sign their resources and morale are both low.
“We no longer experience the prolonged firefights with the ASGs. This suggests that they have run out of ammunition and other supplies necessary to engage government forces. More than just resources, they no longer have the mass base they once enjoy,” he said.
“It will only take a matter of time before the ASG succumbs and their dream of establishing a folly caliphate will finally come to an end. With the string of victories we are attaining, it will not take long before the ASG’s threats are downgraded to no more than that of an ordinary criminal,” he added.