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5 killed in southern Philippines clash

The Abu Sayyaf is the smallest but most violent Muslim rebel group in the southern Philippines.

world Updated: Feb 04, 2008 12:14 IST
DPA

Two soldiers and three Islamic militants were killed on Monday in a clash on a southern Philippine island, a regional military spokesman said.

The fighting erupted when government troops encountered an undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf rebels in Maimbung town on Jolo island, 1,000 km south of capital Manila, Major Eugene Batara said.

Batara said the soldiers were conducting operations to rescue two people, including a Filipino-Chinese businesswoman, kidnapped last week by the Al Qaeda-linked militants in Jolo town.

The bodies of the slain bandits and one assault rifle were recovered by soldiers, the major added.

It was not certain whether the guerrillas were the ones holding the kidnapping victims.

The Abu Sayyaf is the smallest but most violent Muslim rebel group in the southern Philippines. It has been blamed for some of the worst terrorist attacks and high-profile kidnappings in the country.