Battle of Tipo-Tipo

The Battle of Tipo-Tipo was a military engagement that began in 9 April 2016 at Tipo-Tipo, Basilan Island, Philippines 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 soldiers and 31 militants reported killed, and more than 70 others injured. It was the largest single loss of life for the Philippine Army since the beginning of the year, and came just a day after the group had released an Italian hostage.[2][3][4]

Battle of Tipo-Tipo
Part of the Moro Conflict

view of Basilan (red) within Mindanao (yellow) and the Philippines (orange)
Date9–14 April 2016
(5 days)
Result Tactical Abu Sayyaf victory
Strategically inconclusive
 Philippines Abu Sayyaf
Commanders and leaders
Benigno Aquino III
Hernando Iriberri
Elmer Suderio
Isnilon Hapilon
Ubaida Hapilon 
Units involved

Armed Forces of the Philippines

  • Philippine Army
    • 44th Infantry Battalion
    • 4th Special Forces Battalion
    • 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion
~100 soldiers 100–120 militants
Casualties and losses
18 killed
56 wounded[1]
31 killed[1]


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 9 April 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.[4]

On 13 April, ongoing operations conducted resulted in the death toll of 24 Abu Sayaf members. President Aquino visited injured soldiers in Zamboanga.[5] Fighting lasted until 14 April.[1]


On 8 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"[6] The Islamic State released a report on the fighting, claiming 40 ISIS militants had been killed in eight days of clashes and that the battle involved heavy artillery fire and airstrikes.

ISIS involvement

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for the clash on 9 April. In a statement by the group's Amaq news agency dated in April 13, it said that the militants involved in the clash on 9 April 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 fighters 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.[7][8]


  1. "Basilan clash: What we know so far". Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  2. "18 Philippine Soldiers Killed in Firefight With Militant Group". The New York Times. 10 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  3. "18 Filipino soldiers killed, 52 others wounded in clash". Fox News. 10 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  4. "18 Philippine troops killed in clash with Abu Sayyaf fighters". Straits Times. 10 April 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  5. "Aquino visits Zamboanga as AFP pursues Abu Sayyaf". Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  6. "Thousands flee amid Basilan clashes". Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  7. Mogato, Manuel (14 April 2016). "Philippines rejects Islamic State's claim it killed 100 troops". Reuters. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  8. "Philippines dismisses ISIS claims of killing 100 soldiers". Lawyer Herald. 14 April 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
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