Fifteen government troopers have been confirmed dead and 12 others were wounded as firefight erupted between the military and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Patikul, Sulu on Monday.
Major Felimon Tan Jr., Spokesperson of the AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said on Tuesday that one of those slain was an officer.
The soldiers who figured in the fierce firefight that started at around 4:30 p.m. and lasted before 6 p.m. were elements of the Army's 35th and 21st Infantry Battalions.
Tan said the troops were conducting pursuit operations when they encountered the ASG's main body led by sub-leader Radullan Sahiron.
All the slain and wounded soldiers were recovered and protected to avoid mutilation from terrorists.
Tan said not a single gun or bullet was lost to the terrorists.
He noted that casualties on the side of the ASG was undetermined.
"Ang description ng nangyaring fight is fight talaga e. Laban. Kumbaga, positioning siguro. Manuever. Nabira. Kaya nga 'yung details, hindi ko pa masyadong alam. Hindi tayo nadali o na-overwhelm, kasi hindi tayo nakunan ng baril at hindi nila nalapitan ang tropang nasawi," Tan explained.
"During firefight, may napipinsala talaga e. Who knows, baka marami ring nadale sa kanila, hindi lang natin nakikita. Kumbaga yung 12, masakit na namatayan tayo ng ganun. But in war, in battle, you can never predict the result. Malay mo ang patay sa kanila bente or trenta," he added.