Four soldiers killed in clash with Islamist militants in Philippines

MANILA (dpa): Four soldiers were killed and 17 wounded in a clash with Islamist militants in the southern Philippines, the military said Saturday (June 6).

Two members of the Abu Sayyaf group were also killed in the firefight on Friday in Patikul town on Jolo island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila, said Major Arvin Encinas, a regional military spokesman.

The soldiers were on patrol in a village in Patikul town when they encountered about 40 Abu Sayyaf militants, Encinas said.

The firefight lasted for about 40 minutes and ended when the militants retreated, he added.

Jolo is a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, the most violent Islamist militant group in the Philippines that has been blamed for some of the worst terrorist attacks in the country.

The militants have also been responsible for high-profile kidnappings of foreigners and Filipinos, some of whom they beheaded after ransoms were not paid.

The group has allied itself with the Islamic State terrorist organization, which has claimed responsibility for several bombings in the Philippines. - dpa
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