Troops kill 2 Abu Sayyaf militants, capture another in southern Philippines

16:16, January 09, 2011      

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Two militants of Abu Sayyaf group were killed and another wounded in a clash with elite government troops in the southern Philippine island province of Basilan early Sunday, the first armed engagement between the two sides this year, the military said.

Citing reports from the field, Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz said Scout Ranger soldiers were on a combat operation when they caught up with an undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf terrorists on the outskirts of Tipo-tipo town around 5:45 a.m.

The gunfight lasted for about 45 minutes, after which the terrorists withdrew, leaving behind the bodies of their two unidentified comrades, Ortiz said.

The government troops captured one of the terrorists, whose name was not immediately known. The soldiers also recovered at the encounter site a rocket-propelled grenade with two live ammunition, two M16 assault rifles with scopes, magazines for M16, and a knife.

Ortiz said the skirmish is the military's first armed engagement with the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan this year.

As of the end of 2010, the Armed Forces estimated the strength of the Abu Sayyaf at only 340 members with about 296 firearms.

The Abu Sayyaf, active in southern Philippines, was founded in the 1990s and had perpetrated a number of high-profile attacks, including kidnapping, bombing and beheading.

Source: Xinhua
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