By: LIEUTENANT COLONEL EDGARD A AREVALO PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
Friday, 02 October 2009
Confirmed enemy fatalities in the latest assault on a tank infantry convoy in Sulu yesterday, 01 October 2009 have climbed to 14 while another battalion of marines deploys in the island province to augment security forces.
Field reports reaching this Headquarters said that security forces have recovered two more bodies bringing the total to five from three in yesterday’s attack by armed men led by Khabir Malik on MBLT-11 post in Bitan-ag, Panamao town. Three bodies recovered by MBLT-11 were identified as: Al- Bashir Malik Jadjaie, reportedly a cousin and close-in aide of Ustadz Malik; Nidzmi Arkani Tahang; and Aswads Laguindin. Two more bodies, that of Darwin Hassan and Hamid Mudar Saipudin were later identified and reported by the PNP-Panamao.
Intelligence information recovered from residents in the area have reported that nine more attackers died when Marines from 311th Marine Company ferociously repulsed the aggressors in a foiled assault. Three of them were reported to be that of a certain Apek and a certain Apud (last names unknown), and one Murphy Siraje. Six more aggressors who died in the unsuccessful attack are undergoing identification.
MBLT-11 led by Lt Col Hernani Songano linked up with the EOD Team of the 2nd Marine Brigade in Brgy Seit, Panamao to detonate IEDs and clear the area from landmines when they were ambushed in Bitan-ag. The attack lasted for more than an hour.
Aside from the attack in Bitan-ag yesterday, unidentified armed men also harrassed the 26 MC detachment in Brgy Kagay, Indanan, Sulu. No casualties were reported during the incident.
Meanwhile, the AFP beefs up its troops conducting security operations in the island province as a battalion of marines with their implements boards Philippine Navy Vessel BRP Dagupan City (LC551). MBLT7 under the command of Maj Arnel Tolato will serve both as a deterrent and as a maneuver force. MBLT-7 based in Basilan province is tasked to prevent lawless groups from perpetrating lawlessness in downtown Jolo and reinforce Marine units in case of attacks.
Humanitarian and development projects remain primordial in the agenda of the Philippine Navy. Combat operations and law enforcement action had to be resorted to however so as to protect innocent civilians from the lawless groups that prey on peace-loving Suluanos. “The faster we get rid of these threat groups, the faster we revert to humanitarian and development projects to benefit the people of Sulu,” says Vice Admiral Ferdinand S Golez, Flag Officer In Command, Philippine Navy.