5 suspected Islamist militants killed in clash with Philippine troops
Sept. 9, 2020 - Five suspected Islamist militants were killed on Wednesday in a clash with government troops in the southern Philippines, the military said.
Brigadier General Leonel Nicolas, an army brigade commander, said that two soldiers were also wounded in the fighting that erupted before dawn in a village in Zambooanga Sibugay province, about 780 kilometres south of Manila.
The troops were pursuing members of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, who were allegedly planning to carry out kidnappings in the region based on reports received from sources, Nicolas said.
“Locals tipped off the authorities of the presence of these terrorist groups which resulted to the timely response of our troops,” he said.
Troops also recovered four high-powered firearms after the 30-minute firefight in President Roxas village, said Captain Clint Antipala, an army division spokesman.
Last month, authorities blamed Abu Sayyaf for twin suicide bombings in Jolo town in nearby Sulu province, killing seven soldiers, a police officer, and six civilians.
The bombers were believed to be the widows of two Filipino militants.
The Abu Sayyaf is the most violent Islamist militant group in the Philippines and has been blamed for some of the worst terrorist attacks in the country, as well as high-profile kidnappings for ransom.
The group has allied itself with the Islamic State terrorist organisation, which has claimed responsibility for several bombings in the Philippines