Rescuing soldiers clash with Basilan rebels

Posted on Monday, March 30th, 2009 and is filed under Defense. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines/ BP Garcia–A soldier died while two others were wounded when the government forces searched one of the nine hostages held captives in Basilan clashed with a group of rebels, a military official disclosed Monday.

1Lt. Steffani Cacho, Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) information officer, said the clash took place around 6:30 a.m. Monday in the village of Guiong, Sumisip, Basilan.

Cacho said the troops were searching for Leah Patris, the kidnapped lending firm worker, when they encountered the group of rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leader Amir Mingkong in the village of Guiong, Sumisip.

Patris was seized along with two others last February 3 while they were collecting loan payments from their clients in the village of Limbu Candiis, Sumisip town.

One of her two companions managed to escape on the same day while the other was recovered by the government troops last February 6 in the village of Mahayahay, Maluso town.

The identities of the slain soldier as well as the two wounded were not immediately released since the military have to notify first their relatives.

Cacho said Mingkong’s group fled to different directions and it was not immediately known whether the kidnap victim was with them during the firefight.

Last week, the government forces have overrun Mingkong’s camp in the village of Baiwas, Sumisip and the soldiers found traces of the kidnap victim.

The rescue operation was launched after the Sumisip town officials failed to convince the kidnappers to release Patris.

Mingkong’s group is demanding P8 million ransom in exchange for the release of the hostage.

Aside from Patris, eight other kidnap victims are being held captives in Basilan province.

They include a Sri Lankan peace advocate, a nine-year-old child, three public school teachers from Zamboanga City and three public school teachers from Zamboanga Sibugay province.  (BP Garcia, The Philsouth Angle)

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