Military finds abandoned Abu Sayyaf 'camps'
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Philippine military said it discovered 3 abandoned Abu Sayyaf encampments in Patikul, Sulu days after the release of its two German hostages.
The first two were found Sunday afternoon, October 19. One encampment with 47 bunkers was found in barangay Buhanginan, where the German hostages were likely hidden, military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc said.
A larger camp was also found in Kabuntakas village. It can supposedly house 100 people.
"At about 3pm today, Bravo Company, 32 Infantry Battalion discovered abandoned Abu Sayyaf Group camp with 47 bunkers about 100 meters diameter at Sitio Lasal, Barangay Buhanginan, Patikul, Sulu.... Another camp that can accommodate 100 people was also discovered by the 35th Infantry Battalion in Kabuntakas Village," the military's situation report read.
The third, a "satellite camp", was found 8am Monday morning, October 20, less than a kilometer away from the large camp in Kabuntakas. It is believed to be a security outpost.
The Abu Sayyaf members are believed to have fled to the forested parts of Patikul. Joint Task Force Group Sulu commander Colonel Allan Arrojado said they are continuously tracking them down.
Cabunoc said war materials found in the camps could help the military identify the whereabouts of the Abu Sayyaf and their hostages
"The German kidnap victims were released near the abandoned Abu Sayyaf Group camp in Buhanginan village. Heavy rains slowed down the tracking operations but the troops under Colonel Allan Arrojado have remained committed to accomplish the assigned mission," said Cabunoc in a statement.
The military launched "full-scale combat rescue operations" against the Abu Sayyaf on Saturday, October 18, a day after the release of Stefan Viktor Okonek, 71, and Henrike Dielen, 55.
There have been no skirmishes since the release of the Germans. - Rappler.com