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U.S. contractor's helicopter encounters hostile ground fire

U.S. contractor's helicopter encounters hostile ground fire

A helicopter chartered by a U.S. defense contractor was fired on while flying supplies to American military advisers in the southern Philippines, a Filipino general said Tuesday.
The Bell helicopter encountered "hostile ground fire" from unknown forces while flying over the town of Tipo-Tipo on Basilan island on Monday, said Marine Brigadier-General Juancho Sabban.
Small groups of U.S. military advisers are providing training and intelligence data to Filipino troops going after a number of Islamic militant groups in Basilan and the nearby island of Jolo.
Sabban said the helicopter was chartered by U.S. defense contractor Dyncorp and was on its way back to Zamboanga city from Jolo, where it delivered supplies to the U.S. forces there. "No one was reported hurt from the attack," Sabban told reporters. The aircraft suffered no damage, he added.
Filipino troops have been dispatched to the area to try to investigate, the general said.
"That area is known for the presence of the Abu Sayyaf and MILF," Sabban said, referring to the separatist Muslim guerrilla group Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is holding peace talks with the Philippine government.
"Aircraft passing the area are usually fired on," he added.
Spokesmen for the U.S. Joint Special Operation Task Force in the Philippines were unavailable for comment.
The Abu Sayyaf has been blamed for bombings and kidnappings of Christian as well as Western targets and is alleged to have given sanctuary to key suspects in the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia who belong to the Jemaah Islamiyah.


Updated : 2021-05-09 04:48 GMT+08:00