DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:10 P.M.) – Six troops were shot dead and four more wounded as militants loyal to Abu Sayyaf (local ISIS franchise group) attacked a Philippine Army convoy on the island of Basilan on Wednesday.
According to Colonel Juvymax Uy, Task Force Basilan Commander, the jihadist insurgents opened fire as government forces approached the Basilan Circumferential Road near the town of Sumisip, leading to a firefight that lasted three hours.
With the Philippine soldiers pinned down inside their armored vehicles amid the surprise ambush, reinforcements from the 64th and 68th Infantry Battalions were rushed to the scene and managed to drive back the ISIS attack although Juvymax Uy could not decipher the enemy death toll.
The Philippine Air Force also carried out a couple sorties against suspected Abu Sayyaf combattants during the shootout.
Subsequently, the bodies of fallen soldiers were returned to family members in Zamboanga City while the wounded were brought to Camp Navarro General Hospital and a private hospital in Zamboanga for medical attention.
Abu Sayyaf in Basilan was formerly led by Isnilon Hapilon, the designated “emir” or leader of the ISIS in Southeast Asia who was killed after leading the failed rebellion in Marawi City with the Maute group.