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ZAMBOANGA CITY – Security forces continue to pursue the Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines following a series of clashes recently that killed one rebel and left 15 others injured, officials said Tuesday.

Officials said law enforcement operation is going in the town of Patikul where the recent fighting occurred.

Brigadier General Allan Arrojado, commander of military forces in-charge of the operation, said members of the 2nd Marine Brigade were deployed in Patikul where troops fought about 300 rebels.

He said 10 soldiers and 5 rebels were wounded in the clashes which started late in August.

The rebels were led by Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, Muammar Askali, Almuktar Suddung, Namiel Ahajari, and Basaron Arok.

“Clearing and pursuit operations are ongoing. The military, in coordination with the local government and police, continues to intensify the conduct of law enforcement operations to contain lawless groups,” Arrojado said.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding several foreigners and Filipinos and has threatened to kill one of two Malaysian hostages Bernard Then Ted Fen if his family or government fails to pay ransom.

The 39-year old Bernard was kidnapped along with Thien Nyuk Fun, 50, by four gunmen who stormed Ocean King Seafood Restaurant in Sandakan on May 14. Thien is the restaurant’s manager.

The hostages were believed being held in Sulu Archipelago and Sabah is just near the Filipino province of Tawi-Tawi. Both Malaysians were reportedly very weak. (Mindanao Examiner)


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