Tausug soldier killed in Sulu attack

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Pvt. Joefrazen J. Tawasil

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 26) — A soldier from the Philippine Army's 45th Battalion died in what is described as an "anti-Tausug, anti-Muslim" attack in Patikul, Sulu Tuesday.

Joint Task Force Sulu says the attack that happened at the Tugas-Maligay Road was initiated by a leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

"The 11th Infantry Division confirms that there has been attack in Brgy Tugas, Patikul wherein 45th Infantry Battalion's Pvt. Joefrazen J. Tawasil, 25 years old, perished. He was part of a team on board a military truck, facilitating admin movements of the battalion. This act of violence was initiated by ASG subleader Ellam Nasirin around 7 pm yesterday," JTF Sulu said in a statement Wednesday.

The task force claimed that Nasirin's act was done "out of frustration" over military operations that were initiated during the holidays. Pursuit operations for Nasirin are underway.

The JTF paid tribute to Tawasil, saying his bravery embodied the values of a Tausug warrior.

The incident was also condemned by residents, saying it was both anti-Tausug and anti-Muslim.