August 29, 2001, INQ7, Fighting between gov't and Abu Sayyaf displaces 100 families, by Fe Zamora,
Posted: 0:10 AM (Manila Time)
ABOUT 100 families have been displaced as fighting erupted anew between government soldiers and Abu Sayyaf Muslim bandits in the towns of Maluso and Lamitan in Basilan on southern Mindanao island, a GMA-7 television report said.
The report said fighting resumed August 25, forcing families to leave their homes for temporary evacuation shelters, possibly to face hunger and diseases.
Clashes flared up after suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen ambushed a mini-bus at the boundary of Lamitan and Maluso, killing a soldier and six civilians on the spot. Ten others were wounded in the attack.
The ambush took place while congressmen from Manila, investigating top military commanders the on reports they were in cahoots with the Abu Sayyaf, were in the capital town of Isabela 30 kilometers away.
Massive military operations have been going on and off in Basilan since May, after the Abu Sayyaf encamped in the Basilan hinterlands with three American and 17 Filipino hostages abducted from the Dos Palmas resort off Palawan waters.
The Sayyaf have released 14 hostages, but continue to hold American couple Martin and Gracia Burnham and Filipinos Ma. Fe Rodena and Divine Montealegre. They have beheaded one Filipino hostage from Dos Palmas and claim to have also beheaded American-Peruvian national Guillermo Sobero.