Philippine soldiers attack Abu Sayyaf, rescue foreign hostages

A soldier lays on a stretcher and is carried by his comrades inside the Camp Bautista hospital after sustaining wounds in a gunfight with Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf militants in Talipao town, Sulu province, Philippines. - Reuters
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The Philippine Army has carried out a sudden raid on the base of a militant group, where they believed kidnapped foreign victims were being kept along with other hostages, the Philippines’ Philstar newspaper reported.

Filipino authorities affirmed on Monday that the national army had swooped on the camp of the Abu Sayyaf militant group in Sulu Province on Sunday.

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The Philippine Army asserted that they would keep hunting down the militants to rescue 28 people, including  Indonesians, they had captured.

The encounter occurred at around 9:30 am on Sunday as the 41st Infantry Battalion led by Lieutenant Colonel William George Cordova attacked the militants in the mountain of Barangay Laos, the Philstar quoted Major General Carlito Galvez, chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), according to Philstar.

More than 10 Abu Sayyaf militants were killed and 32 soldiers, including an army battalion commander, were wounded in a fierce battle, which lasted for more than one hour.

As the Abu Sayyaf were attacking from high grounds, posing a disadvantage for the Philippine Army soldiers, a 105mm howitzer was used during the clash.

“More than 10 were killed. Our troops had discovered mangled bodies in the area, but we continue to pursue them,” Reuters quoted Maj. Gen. Galvez as saying.

The Abu Sayyaf group is now on the run, he said, adding that five battalions have been mobilized to block the escaping militants.

Abu Sayyaf is a terror group based in the southwestern part of the Philippines and is recently associated with the IS militant group.

The militants often attack foreign ships and capture onboard sailors to demand ransom.

Last month, five Malaysians were freed on Jolo and two Filipino sailors were rescued on nearby Basilan Island by soldiers chasing the Abu Sayyaf militant group, according to Reuters.

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