Philippine Air Force launches airstrike against Abu Sayyaf terrorists
Using its FA-50 Fighting Eagle fighter jets, the Philippine Air Force has carried out an airstrike against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sumisip, Basilan province.
The air force's newly acquired aircraft attacked a camp of the jihadist terror group, killing 20 terrorists, according to Philippine News Agency.
Philippine Army 4th Special Forces Battalion commander lieutenant colonel Andrew Bacala Jr was quoted by the news agency as saying that the fighter jets “delivered a deadly payload, inflicting heavy casualties to the ASGs.”
The airstrikes were followed by artillery and mortar fires.
Soldiers from the 4th Special Forces and 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion carried out a ground assault against the terrorists in Barangay Pamatsaken, Sumisip.
Joint Task Force Basilan commander Colonel Juvymax Uy said: “Our troops were able to cordon the enemy due to the accurate and timely indirect fires, and close support delivered by our artillery and the Philippine Air Force's [fighter jets].
“Also, the information being volunteered by the populace and local government units provided critical information to validate the intelligence we have on hand.”
The troops have recovered food supplies and bomb-making components that can be used for making 30 improvised explosive devices (IED).
To date, the military has killed at least 60 bandits across the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
In April, the air force received two more FA-50s, bringing the total number of Fighting Eagle jet fighters to ten.
Two more FA-50s are expected to be delivered by the end of this month.
The aircraft will be handed over as part of a PHP18.9bn ($378.4m) deal signed with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for 12 FA-50s in total.