Update on AFP – Bangsa Moro fighting in Sulu, southern Philippines

NDFP International Information Office

US military officers arrived yesterday in Sulu at the height of the AFP military operations against the Bangsa Moro fighters. This was admitted by Lt. General Alberto Braganza, Commanding Officer of the AFP’s Southern Command, although he denied that the US officers were directly involved in the military operations. At the same time, the 100-member Light Reaction Company, trained by US military advisors, was brought into the battle zone by the AFP at early dawn today.

The five-day fighting has resulted in heavy casualties for the AFP. As of 6 p.m. Friday 11 February 2005, the body count on the side of the AFP was as follows:

  • Marines: 46 killed; 17 wounded
  • hilippine Army: 20 killed; 36 wounded
  • Plus nine others killed on 10 February 2005 including Lt. Col. Dennis Villanueva, 53rd Infantry Battalion Commander, and Captain Ibarra (not Colonel Mamaril as earlier reported).

The Mujahideen fighters of the Bangsa Moro Army suffered the following casualties:

  • 5 killed; 10 wounded.

The body count of the AFP stated above has been kept secret by the AFP’s Southern Command. It does not reflect the total number of casualties because the AFP is notorious for not disclosing all its casualties and the AFP troops often do not care to retrieve bodies of dead AFP soldiers. Moreover, the Red Cross is unable to recover all the bodies due to the continuing fighting.

Please note the correction on the earlier report of Col. Mamarin of the 55th IB being killed. The latest report states that it was Captain Ibarra and not Col. Mamaril or Mamarin.