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Thursday 26 April 2018

Abu Sayyaf militants kill nine in Philippine village

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the southern third of the Philippines under martial law (AP)
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the southern third of the Philippines under martial law (AP)

Abu Sayyaf militants have killed nine people and wounded 16 others in an attack on a southern Philippine village which may have been in retaliation for a series of battle setbacks, officials said.

At least 20 Abu Sayyaf militants opened fire on villagers and burned five houses and a village hall in the attack on Tubigan village in Maluso town on Basilan island, military and police officials said.

Among the dead were villagers and a militiaman.

Government militiamen were surprised by the early-morning attack but later managed to put up resistance with extra troops and drive the attackers away after two hours of heavy fighting, the military said.

The militants fled and were being pursued by government forces.

The Abu Sayyaf "must have been hit hard by our operations over the weekend and opted to attack communities which they know are not supportive of them", Basilan military commander Colonel Juvymax Uy said.

The group has been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organisation for ransom kidnappings, beheadings, bombings and other violence.

Some Abu Sayyaf commanders have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and were involved in a bloody siege in southern Marawi city which has left more than 750 people - mostly militants - dead and dragged on for nearly three months.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the southern third of the largely Roman Catholic nation under martial law to deal with the Marawi crisis and prevent the Abu Sayyaf and other extremist groups from staging other major attacks elsewhere in the volatile region.

AP

Press Association

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