Philippine Army Scout Rangers, recent Basilan clash


Verified SOF
Jul 16, 2012
10 soldiers killed in Basilan clash
Posted at 07/27/2012 9:21 AM | Updated as of 07/27/2012 11:22 PM

MANILA (4th UPDATE) – Philippine elite troops backed by helicopter gunships fought Al-Qaeda-linked militants Thursday in the group's stronghold on a southern island, in clashes that killed 10 government soldiers, the military said.
The soldiers battled Islamic extremists from the Abu Sayyaf group on the troubled island of Basilan, with the fighting leaving at least 10 soldiers and 9 militants dead.
Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said 8 of the soldiers died in the morning clash in Barangay Upper Cabengbeng, Sumisip town. Two more soldiers died in another skirmish in the afternoon. At least 17 soldiers were wounded.
The military clarified on Friday that 10 soldiers, not 12 as initially reported, were killed in the incident. They said double counting led to the bloated figure.
Cabangbang said 9 bandits died in the firefight, including local Abu Sayyaf leader Juhair Aliman, Ustadz Hassan Asnawi, Jumaidi Asnawi, Narham Asnawi, Jarad Marain and Jaz Umangkat.
Casualty figures may be even higher as not all the fallen Abu Sayyaf fighters were recovered, the military said.
However, Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz, commander of the Army's 1st Infantry Division, said only 4 Abu Sayyaf men died and about 5 others were injured.
"We may have underestimated the other side.
Number one, it's Ramadan, they should not be operating. It seemed that they had more men [during the fighting] and we have little lapses, leading to an ambush," he said.
Cruz said an Army battalion from Lanao del Sur will be deployed to Basilan next week "to counteract the activities of the Abu Sayyaf."
"They are just waiting for the Navy ship (that will transport them), they are now ready (for deployment)," he said.
Cruz said another battalion from Zamboanga Sibugay will be deployed next month.
Rubber plantation
Cabangbang, meanwhile, said Thursday’s clash was triggered by an alleged harassment of the bandit group of soldiers stationed near a rubber plantation in the area on Wednesday.
According to Cabangbang, the attack was perpetrated by Wyms Wakil, a former assistant manager of the rubber plantation’s cooperative who was fired last year.
Cabangbang said Wakil also has links to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but is “more inclined” to work with the Abu Sayyaf Group.
“For the past nine months, he did nothing but to harass the rubber plantation employees. So far, 16 already died and 34 were wounded from the side of the workers. He has some ax to grind,” Cabangbang told ABS-CBN News Channel.
The latest of the attacks was carried out last July 11, where at least six people died and 22 were wounded.
The plantation workers' cooperative operating in the area had previously received extortion letters purportedly from the Abu Sayyaf demanding payment of over $1,000 a month in exchange for not being harmed.
Cabangbang said troops seemed to have trapped some of the bandits in a portion of the province and the military will be sending reinforcements in the area.
“We are ready to re-engage, we will be re-supplying them (soldiers) today. Our wounded have been evacuated already. We will try to engage them again today and tomorrow,” Cabangbang said.
Abu Sayyaf Group, which was founded in the 1990s with seed money from then Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, has been blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history including deadly bombings and kidnappings for ransom.
The heavily-forested island of Basilan has long been a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf.
About 600 US troops have been rotating through the southern Philippines for a decade to help train local troops in hunting the Abu Sayyaf.
From another news source...

The violence started early on Thursday when soldiers attacked an Abu Sayyaf encampment on Basilan Island's Sumisip township. The battle left eight government troops and four rebels dead, Army major general Ricardo Rainier Cruz said.

The army sent more troops and sporadic fighting continued until the afternoon. Later in the day, the Abu Sayyaf militants fired at an army outpost in the same township, said Captain Albert Caber, a military spokesman. They then separately ambushed two groups of troops sent to back up the forces there.

No one was killed at the outpost, but four reinforcement troops were killed en route to the area, Caber said. At least three soldiers and two rebels also were wounded in Thursday's clashes.
Damn. Sounds like they purposely attacked an outpost and then waited for the reinforcements to arrive.

RIP to the fallen.