ZAMBOANGA, Philippines – Gunmen suspected to be Islamic militants ambushed a convoy carrying farm workers in the southern Philippines on Wednesday (July 11th), killing six and wounding 22 others, the army said, according to AFP.
The four-vehicle convoy, which also carried armed security escorts from a government militia, was on its way to a remote rubber plantation when it was attacked, Army spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc said. "The (militia) members who escorted the civilian workers managed to return fire, forcing the lawless elements to retreat in different directions with their own casualties," Cabunoc said in a statement.
Six workers were killed, while 22 others, including two militiamen, were wounded, he said.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack on Basilan Island, although local police and the farm co-operative's manager said they suspected the Abu Sayyaf terror group was behind the ambush.
Taha Katu, the co-operative's manager, said they had received extortion letters purportedly from the al-Qaeda-lined Abu Sayyaf, demanding payment of over $1,000 a month in exchange for not being harmed.