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BASILAN – Government troops killed a Malaysian militant in a clash Sunday with Abu Sayyaf rebels in the troubled province of Basilan in the Muslim autonomous region in southern Philippines, a military report said.

It said hundreds of army troops and pro-government militias launched an assault against the Abu Sayyaf in the village of Macalang in Al-Barka town, a known stronghold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which signed an interim peace deal with Manila in 2014.

A small team of MILF members led by Pulon Kulalul also joined the army in fighting the Abu Sayyaf. Two militias – Allahero Ujajin and Sarip Alista  – were injured in the clash.

Troops also recovered the body of the slain militant, but his name was not immediately made available by the military except that he was a Malaysian national fighting alongside the Abu Sayyaf. At least 6 improvised explosives were also recovered from the encampment of the Abu Sayyaf in Sitio Bohe Buug.

On March 25, government troops also killed an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Eric Ajibun and one of his followers in fierce clashes that left 5 soldiers and two militias wounded in Al-Barka town.

Troops launched an operation dubbed “Oplan Urgent Fury 2” against the Abu Sayyaf following deadly clashes between the MILF and the jihadist group on March 23 that killed Haipa Isnilon, son of a key Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon.

MILF forces ambushed Haipa’s group which was reported to be trying to set up a camp in the area which the villagers and the former rebel group strongly opposed.

In December last year, military forces also killed a Malaysian national during clashes with the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan. (Ely Dumaboc)

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