Abu Sayyaf militants fire mortar shells at troops on medical mission in S.Philippines

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-16 18:03:01|Editor: ZX
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MANILA, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Abu Sayyaf fighters fired mortar shells on Saturday at government soldiers doing medical mission in a remote coastal town in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, the Philippine military said.

Col. Gerry Besana, the spokesperson for the Philippine military's Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said three 60 mm mortar rounds exploded around 11:30 a.m. local time, some 200 metres from the Tanum Elementary School where a medical mission was underway.

He said the mortar rounds were estimated to have been fired 500 metres away from the school in an apparent move to discourage residents from participating in the event.

"We strongly condemn this terroristic act resulting in the disruption of basic services delivery to the people," Westmincom chief Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega said in a statement.

No casualty was reported among troops and participants in the medical mission.

Some 2,000 beneficiaries from at least four villages of Patikul town who were gathered for the medical mission scampered for safety as troops immediately cordoned and secured the venue in anticipation of more attacks.

Clashes between government security forces and Abu Sayyaf group militants broke out in Patikul town in the last few weeks as troops intensified offensive to hunt down the bombers that plotted the Jan. 27 twin bombings. The blasts that hit a church in Jolo killed 23 and injured about 100 others.