Two Abu Sayyaf members believed to be among militants who held a group of Indonesians captive were killed in a shootout with government forces in Languyan, Tawi-Tawi, the military reported Wednesday.
The incident occurred while government forces in Manila turned over four of the Indonesian captives to their country’s representatives.
Soldiers recovered the body of the slain militants, identified only by the aliases “Long” and “Darus,” as well as an M16 rifle, according to a report from the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command.
Members of the 2nd Marine Brigade carried out an operation against the two in Kalupag Island on Tuesday, after receiving information that they were sighted there, the report said.
Troops were moving towards the reported location around 4 p.m. when the targets opened fire, so they retaliated, it added.
Units under AFP Joint Task Force-Tawi-Tawi have been scouring parts of the province after three of the Indonesians and two Abu Sayyaf members were found near the shore of South Ubian town on Thursday.
On Saturday, government forces located Majan Sahidjuan alias “Apo Mike,” the Abu Sayyaf sub-commander who held the Indonesians, and two of his followers in Kalupag.
Sahidjuan was severely wounded in the skirmish that ensued and died of blood loss later in the evening, while his followers “Long” and “Darus” escaped.
The fourth Indonesian captive, a 15-year-old boy, was found in Kalupag the next day.
On Tuesday, the four captives were turned over by AFP chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana and National Police officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar to representatives of the Indonesian Embassy, in Camp Aguinaldo.
The four are among five Indonesian employees of a Malaysian fishing firm whom the Abu Sayyaf abducted in waters off Tambisan, Malaysia, on January 17, 2020.
One of them was killed by their abductors while trying to escape during a clash between soldiers and Abu Sayyaf members in Patikul, Sulu, on September 29 of the same year.
That clash was among 13 encounters between government troops and Abu Sayyaf members that the Indonesians reportedly experienced during their captivity in Patikul.
According to the military, Sahidjuan and his men were transporting the captives from Sulu to Tawi-Tawi last Wednesday, but their boat capsized amid rough seas.
The militants were evading offensives against the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, the military said.
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