Two of the seven Marines killed in a clash with suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu were beheaded, the spokesman for the Philippine Navy said Friday.
Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay made the clarification amid reports that five Marines were mutilated and beheaded by the suspected bandit in a predawn attack in Patikul town on Thursday.
"Hindi lima, two, I can confirm two, I can confirm two hacking," said Tonsay.
The Marines from the Marine Battalion Landing Team 11, 10, and 5 were maneuvering inside enemy camp near the vicinity of Tubig Magtuh in Barangay Panglayahan when the bandits attacked them.
The Marines were killed while 26 others were wounded. Except for one, all those wounded are now in stable condition.
Tonsay claimed that at least 13 of Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed in the encounter. No bodies were recovered, however.
"It is indeed unfortunate that such incident transpired. However, as what had turned out, their sacrifices were not fruitless as the Marines in Sulu have proven that they are coming closer to attaining their goals against terrorism," said Navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama.
The Navy said it would continue witholding the names of the seven slain Marines, including those beheaded, until the remains have been turned over to their respective families.
The Navy spokesman said the mutilation was "barbaric" and should give the government stronger "motivation" to pursue members of the armed bandit group.
The bodies of the slain soldiers are expected to be flown to the Headquarters Philippine Marine Corps in Manila and will be given full military honors on Sunday.
"In spite of these losses however, the government side prevailed on the said operation since movement of Marine troops was not initially detected and they were the first to get sight and subsequently engage the enemy which resulted to the capture of the ASG Camp at Brgy Panglayahan, Patikul, Sulu," Tonsay said.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
2 Marines beheaded in Sulu clash - PHL Navy