Thursday, 20 August 2009
BY: LIEUTENANT COLONEL EDGARD A AREVALO PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
After 96-hours of Fleet-Marine operation-- including intelligence & personnel build-up, insertion of SEALs & Marines, time allowance given for negotiation, and eight hours of protracted firefight in close proximity--ten MNLF men were declared fatalities, five were captured, a Marine was wounded, and assorted firearms were recovered.
"Give due respect to the dead MNLFs the way we want them to respect our fallen comrades that they will be first to have custody of after an armed confrontation," Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez, the Navy Flag Officer in Command yesterday reminded the Fleet-Marine personnel that figured in this successful liberation of Sitio Marabon, Mantangule Island in Balabac Municipality in Palawan. Thirty to 40 Moro National Liberation Front members stormed the island, occupied a mosque, and sent around 400 families fleeing to safety in the nearby islands (see related stories in this page).
The last part of the Fleet-Marine operations ended at around 3PM 18August 2009 after nearly eight hours of close-range firefight with around thirty fully armed men. The protracted skirmishes resulted to the death of 10 MNLF men, 7 of them were recovered, 3 were no longer retrieved from the sea where they attempted to escape on board a pump boat. They refused to surrender after hearing warning shots fired and instead shot it out with the Navy SEALs, according to Commander Alberto Cruz, the Task Group head. Three of the fatalities are the leader Abdullah Abdurajak a.k.a “Pa Guro” and his two sons Ebrahim Sabtula. The rest are Said Abdulradjak, one alias Kimpo, Nuh Abduradjak, Abdul Madjid, and one alias Sarip Hasim. The captured MNLF members were identified as Mannan Said, Bajar Usop, Sukarno Jamal, Alqasim Ladjahassan, and Saheron Batiik. Also recovered were assorted firearms and ammunitions, and a bladed weapon.
To the ground component commander and Commanding Officer MBLT-8 and the commander of the Naval Task Group 41.5 of the Philippine Fleet LTCol Yuri Pesigan and Commander Alberto Cruz, respectively of the Fleet-Marine team that operated in Mantangule Island, VADM Ferdinand Golez yesterday sent the message: "The Command Team of the Philippine Navy extends its commendations & congratulations of to all of you out there who made the Navy especially proud today. Carry on the good work!"