Battle of Tipo-Tipo
|Battle of Tipo-Tipo|
|Part of the Moro Conflict|
view of Basilan (red) within Mindanao (yellow) and the Philippines (orange)
|Commanders and leaders|
|Ubaida Hapilon †|
44th Infantry Battalion|
4th Special Forces Battalion
3rd Scout Ranger Battalion
|~100 soldiers||100+ militants|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Tipo-Tipo is an ongoing military engagement that is taking place in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan Island which started on April 9, 2016, between forces of the Philippine Army and members of the Abu Sayyaf militant group. The battle resulted in dozens of casualties, with at least 18 Philippine soldiers and 5 militants reported killed and more than 70 others injured in total. It was the largest single loss of life for the Army since the beginning of the year, and came just one day after the group had released an Italian hostage.
Abu Sayyaf became a part of ISIS in 2014 when nearly all of its members, including its leader Isnilon Hapilon, pledged allegiance to the said group. The Philippine government dismissed this news as a threat.
The Philippine military pledged that on 9 April 2016, which that day is also the National Day of Valor, they will conduct an offensive aimed at wiping out the militant groups in the island.
Clashes erupted around 8am on April 9 as troops entered Tipo-Tipo in search of Abu Sayyaf insurgents. A group of more than 100 militants ambushed the government forces, sparking a 10-hour firefight, according to Major Filemon Tan, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command of the Philippine Army. News reports indicated an entire platoon was wiped out, with at least four soldiers being beheaded by militants. Among those killed were Ubaida Hapilon, son of the regional commander Isnilon Hapilon, as well as Mohammad Khattab, a Moroccan bomb maker and extremist preacher.
On April 13 ongoing operations conducted resulted in the death toll of 24 Abu Sayaf members. President Aquino visited injured soldiers in Zamboanga.
On the 8th July, CNN report that "the fighting in Basilan that began Wednesday night is affecting three towns: Tipo-Tipo, Ungkaya Pukan and Al-Barka" and that "the armed men fighting authorities in Basilan are led by the notorious Abu Sayyaf leaders Puruji Indama and Isnilon Hapilon"
On the 8th July, the Islamic State released a report on the fighting, claiming 40 Filipino soldiers had been killed in eight days of clashes and that the battle involved heavy artillery fire and airstrikes.
ISIS involvement claim
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility for the clash in April 9. In a statement by the group's Amaq news agency dated in April 13, it said that the militants involved in the clash in April 9 had bombed 7 trucks of the Philippine military, killing 100 soldiers with only three casualties in the militants' side. The Philippine security officials dismissed the claim as propaganda saying that there were "many gaps and inconsistencies" in ISIS' statement. Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, military spokesperson said in an April 14 report by Reuters that only 18 soldiers and 28 Abu Sayaff soldiers have died at that time and no truck exploded. Padilla also said that the military hasn't established that Abu Sayaff and ISIS are linked organizations.
- "18 Philippine Soldiers Killed in Firefight With Militant Group". The New York Times. 10 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- "18 Filipino soldiers killed, 52 others wounded in clash". Fox News. 10 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- "18 Philippine troops killed in clash with Abu Sayyaf fighters". Straits Times. 10 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- Mogato, Manuel (14 April 2016). "Philippines rejects Islamic State's claim it killed 100 troops". Reuters. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
- "Philippines dismisses ISIS claims of killing 100 soldiers". Lawyer Herald. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016.