The Philippine military confirmed to the media that at least 20 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed after they launched a massive operation in Sumisip, Basilan. With a combined air and ground assault, the military revealed that the bandits were "shocked" and forced to flee with minimum resistance.
A deadly airstrike followed by a massive ground operation by special forces has resulted in the deaths of Abu Sayyaf members and the loss of their camp in 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 Philippine Air Force newest fighter jets the FA-50 supersonic fighter pounded and destroyed
the Abu Sayyaf camp. The airstrike of the Air Force resulted in the deaths of 20 members of the
notorious terrorist group.
“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.
The FA-50 light fighter or lead-in fighter was first used by the Philippine Air Force last Januray 26, 2017 when two aircraft conducted a nighttime strike on terrorist hideouts in Butig, Lanao de Sur.