ZAMBOANGA, Philippines – Three police aides and a member of the al-Qaeda-linked militant group Abu Sayyaf were killed in a clash in the southern Philippines on Thursday (April 5th), the military said.
Militants ambushed a truck carrying the police aides on patrol at a rubber plantation in Basilan at daybreak, Colonel Ricardo Visaya, commander of a counter-terrorist task force in the area, said according to AFP. Three of the aides were killed and seven wounded, while their colleagues returned fire and shot dead one of the attackers.
The Abu Sayyaf, a small band of Islamic militants set up in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, is based on remote southern islands and is responsible for the country's deadliest terror attacks.
The number of Abu Sayyaf fighters has dropped from roughly 2,000 a decade ago to a few hundred today, AFP said, citing security analysts.