Philippines: 15 Abu Sayyaf gunmen killed in clashes

20th Aug 2015
Philippines: 15 Abu Sayyaf gunmen killed in clashes

By Hader Glang

 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, (AA): At least 15 Abu Sayyaf gunmen and a soldier were killed and seven others were wounded in an encounter with government troops in the predominantly Muslim island province of Sulu in the southern Philippines on Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Group Sulu, told GMA News that five bodies and three firearms were recovered following the clash.

The ten other fatalities were based on “intelligence information,” he added

Colonel Rolando Bautista, commander of the military’s Joint Task Group Basilan, earlier told Anadolu Agency that troops seeking to free hostages held by the group clashed with 60 heavily armed Abu Sayyaf members in Baiwas, Sumisip town around 11.00 a.m. (0300GMT).

“Troops are now in pursuit of withdrawing enemies. As of now, the pursuit operation is on-going so it’s really hard to give exact details from troops who are on pursuit.”

The latest clash between government troops and the al-Qaeda-linked group came barely three days after security forces launched operations to hunt down four militant inmates who escaped from a jail in Isabela City, also in Basilan.

Authorities said four suspected Abu Sayyaf prisoners who have pending cases of robbery, murder, frustrated murder, illegal drugs and carnapping bolted from the detention center of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

The prisoners escaped from the city’s lock-up cell by cutting the grill of the ventilation window using hacksaw.

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf — armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles — has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent Islamic province in the Philippines.

It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.

The group has been designated a “terrorist” group by the United Nations, Australia, Canada, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States.

[Photo:Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (C) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim (center L) look on during the first phase of the decommissioning of Moro Islamic Liberation Front weapons in the town of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao province, Southern Philippines, on 16 June 2015. However, Aby Sayyaf group has continued its attacks in S Philippines. Photographer: IHH/Anadolu Agency]

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