Army officer, soldiers injured in clash with Abu Sayyaf militants in S. Philippines

MANILA, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — An army officer and three other Philippine soldiers have been wounded in a firefight with Abu Sayyaf group in southern Philippines, a military spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, said the clash broke out shortly before 2:00 p.m. on Monday while the troops were patrolling a remote village in Patikul town in the island province of Sulu where the terrorists are keeping hostages.

“Heavy skirmishes ensued, which resulted to the wounding of an army officer and three soldiers, while heavy casualties were reported on the enemy’s side based on human intelligence,” Besana said.

Besana added that the wounded soldiers, a second army lieutenant, a corporal and two privates first class, were brought to a military hospital in Jolo town in Sulu Province for treatment.

Abu Sayyaf, a radical Islamist group in the Philippines, often carries out kidnappings, bombings and beheadings in western Mindanao, particularly in their lair in the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu.

The group is believed to be holding about 10 foreign and Philippine kidnapped victims in Sulu.

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