Soldiers killed in Philippines fighting

Fighting has erupted on a southern Philippine island where troops captured a rebel camp days earlier, leaving three soldiers dead and one wounded, a military commander has said.

    Thirty soldiers have been killed since early February

    The soldiers encountered fighters suspected of belonging to the al-Qaida-linked

    Abu Sayyaf group outside Indanan town on Jolo island during a road security patrol,

    Jolo military commander Brigadier General Agustin Dema-ala said.

    Dema-ala said three soldiers were killed on Saturday and one was wounded in the clash.

    He gave no other details.

    ABS-CBN television reported that five rebels were also killed

    in the firefight.

    Senior Superintendent Suaibon Jalad, police chief of Sulu province, which

    includes Jolo, said an Abu Sayyaf band under local commander Albader Farad

    operates in the area, about 950km south of Manila.

    Shelling

    A reporter for DZBB radio in Jolo town near Indanan reported that the area

    was shelled by military artillery and saw two armoured vehicles rushing in the

    direction of Indanan to help recover the government casualties.

    The Abu Sayyaf-backed followers of jailed rebel leader Nur Misuari

    have been pursued by about 3000 soldiers and marines since they attacked

    an army outpost in Panamao town on 7 February.

    Saturday's clash raised the number of soldiers killed to 30 since early

    this month. Troops have killed more than 40 armed men and wounded scores of

    others, the military said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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