• The military suffered a major blow in its operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group
  • Fifteen soldiers, including an officer, were killed in a deadly battle with the bandits in Sulu
  • AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya said the military will not stop until the terrorist group is destroyed

Fifteen government troopers were killed in a deadly clash with Islamic extremist group Abu Sayyaf which occurred in Sitio Kan Jalul, Barangay Maligay, Patikul, Sulu around 4:30 p.m. on Monday, August 29.

It was the biggest single-day combat loss under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, who ordered the military and the police to destroy the Abu Sayyaf Group last week following the beheading of an 18-year-old hostage, whose family failed to raise the P1-million ransom being demanded by the bandits.

According to an article published by GMA News Online dated August 30, 2016, Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the AFP, said around 120 heavily-armed Abu Sayyaf were encountered by the government troops from the Philippine Army’s 35th Infantry Battalion and 21st Infantry Battalion. Five other soldiers were wounded in the fierce fighting that lasted over two hours.

The military withheld the identities of the soldiers killed in action and those who were wounded until their respective families have been notified.

In a statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Ricardo Visaya  said the military will not stop until the bandits are destroyed.

“As we gaze at the national flag that flies at half-mast anew, soldiers knew that one too many hero among them has again offered his life— that others may live. There may still be casualties along the way as we advance this solemn duty to eradicate these bandits and terrorists of 25 years, but we will not stop until we rid our country of the menace this ASG brings to the world,” Visaya said.