July 25, 2021, Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista, Jolo, Sulu – Units under Joint Task Force (JTF) – Sulu recovered a M67 90mm anti-tank recoilless rifle at Bud Daho, Brgy Lumping Pigih Daho, Talipao, Sulu days after an armed encounter with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).⁷
“The weapon was found on the 14th of July, near where the scout rangers engaged the group earlier this month. Synergy among our Joint Intelligence Task Group, 1101st Infantry Brigade, and the residents of Brgy Lumping Pigi Daho is what made it possible,” said JTF – Sulu and 11th Infantry Division Commander MGen William N Gonzales.
To recall, a bandit was killed and a terrorist lair was overran by army rangers on July 9 2021 at Bud Daho, of same municipality. Per 1101st Infantry Brigade Commander BGen Antonio I Bautista Jr, this concerned the local chief executives that they coordinated with the 41st Infantry Battalion regarding an unconfirmed tip.
“May mga residente kasi na nakakitang may dala-dalang ‘bazooka’ yung grupo doon bago ang encounter. Malaki ang kutob ng mga residente na hindi nila iyon nabitbit noong nagkaputukan na. Kaya naman para wala na silang babalikan doon sa lugar, hinanap talaga namin,” remarked BGen Bautista.
This ‘bazooka’, which turned out to be a 90mm anti-tank recoilless rifle, weighs about 17 kg when empty and more than 21kg if loaded with ammunition.
In an interview, Ltc Eduardo P Castillo of 11th Military Intelligence Battalion pointed out the anti-tank weapon’s dangerous capability which prompted the intelligence community to join efforts for a multi-domain intelligence driven search. According to him, the weapon – which requires three crew members to operate – could be fired in rapid succession to guarantee destruction of the target up to about two kilometers distance.
“Sa lakas ng weapon na ito, comparable ang magiging damage niya sa isang improvised na explosive device. Nagkataon lang na walang ma-source na ammunition itong ASG dahil sa hindi nila magawa yung kanilang income generating schemes para bumili at mag-transport.” he added.
Reportedly, a number of Brgy Lumping Pigih Daho residents volunteered to join military forces in scouring the area that made the task less like looking a needle in haystack.
“The proactive participation of the people of Talipao led by their local chiefs is truly remarkable. This just goes to show that mutual trust and friendship is what will bring terrorism to its end,” said MGen Gonzales.
In April last year, a 90mm anti-tank recoilless rifle was also recovered after firefight between the terror group and the army special forces in Patikul, Sulu. (Westmincom)