Under President Rodrigo Duterte’s leadership, this is the first counter-offensive executed by the military in which thousands of military infantry were deployed and shelled the Abu Sayyaf with artillery fire and air attacks with helicopters launching rockets at the group.
About 22 terrorists were killed and 16 were injured in a separate dogfight in the jungles of Sulu last week according to spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Major Filemon Tan.The military offense also brought down 18 terrorists and left 9 wounded in a clash that happened in Basilan, focusing their attacks on the town of Tipo-Tipo.
Reports have confirmed that one of the Abu Sayyaf that was killed in the military’s offensive is Sabtola Mahali who was involved in the abduction of journalist Ces Drilon that happened in 2008.
The island province of Basilan declared a state of calamity after the heavy firefight between the military forces and the ASG.
Basilan Governor Jim Hataman-Salliman announced that the state of calamity might last for 3 months to properly aid the citizens who fled the area due to the warfare according to Inquirer Radio.