ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Philippine military on Saturday said troops had killed at least 6 Abu Sayyaf militants in separate clashes in Basilan and Sulu provinces in the restive Muslim autonomous region where security forces are battling the radical jihadist group.
It said 11 soldiers were also wounded in the fighting since Friday and had been airlifted to military hospital in Zamboanga City. The military said soldiers recovered the bodies of 2 militants, who were later identified as Radzmil Jannatul and Guro Arah.
Both were killed in clashes in Tipo-Tipo town and soldiers also recovered a .50-caliber machine gun left behind by fleeing militants. Nine soldiers were injured in the fighting in Tipo-Tipo, according to the Western Mindanao Command.
It said four Abu Sayyaf gunmen were also slain in the fighting in the village called Langpas in Indanan town in Sulu and that 2 army soldiers were wounded in the clash. The cadavers of the militants were retrieved by troops.
There were no reports about the Abu Sayyaf hostages in Basilan – five Malaysian tugboat crew members kidnapped off Sabah recently – and 10 Indonesian sailors in Sulu, who were also abducted near the Philippine border.
The military said the operations against the Abu Sayyaf were continuing in the provinces.
On July 29, gunmen also attacked soldiers in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, also in the autonomous region, but the military did not release any report about this, although other sources in the area said troops also recovered improvised explosives in Marawi.
The attack has been largely blamed to the group of jihadist leader Abdullah Maute, who pledged allegiance with ISIS. Maute was also behind numerous attacks on military targets in the province and nearby areas. (Mindanao Examiner)
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