Thursday, 12 April 2012 11:44
Twenty-two soldiers were wounded, five of them in critical condition, in a landmine explosion near a fallen Abu Sayyaf camp in the hinterlands of the nearby province of Basilan, military officials disclosed Tuesday.
Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said the explosion occurred around 8:40 a.m. Tuesday at Abong-Abong Peak, Sitio Pansol, Barangay Baiwas, Sumisip, Basilan.
No identities of the wounded soldiers were immediately available except that they are from the 13th Scout Ranger Company of the Army's 4th Scout Ranger Battalion based in Basilan province.
Col. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the Basilan-based Army's 104th Infantry Brigade, said the explosion occurred when “some troops” tripped on an improvised bomb fashioned out as a landmine while there were conducting combat recon patrol near a former Abu Sayyaf camp.
The government troops overrun the Abu Sayyaf camp last month. Visaya said that five of the 22 injured soldiers were in critical condition.
He said that troops from the 10th Scout Ranger Company also from the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion were deployed “to assist in casualty evacuation.”
Two “huey” helicopters were dispatched to airlift the soldiers to a military hospital in Zamboanga City, Visaya said.
Wesmincom chief Maj. Gen. Noel Coballes said the Abu Sayyaf bandits have “designed the area to be impenetrable” before it was overrun by the troops last month.
However, Coballes said the troops would continue despite the incident. “Efforts to clear the area of Abu Sayyaf bandits along with their landmines and improvised bombs will continue in order to ensure that civilians who would want access to Abong-Abong Peak for farming are assured of their safety,” Coballes said.
by: Teofilo P. Garcia-PNA/PIA9-ZBST
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