ZAMBOANGA, Philippines – Ten Abu Sayyaf fighters and seven soldiers were killed Thursday (June 19th) in one of the bloodiest clashes in the southern Philippines in recent months, AFP reported.
The fighting broke out as the soldiers approached Patikul, a known Abu Sayyaf hotbed on Jolo, according to a military statement.
"The remaining troops are still in the area of operations while the casualties were evacuated," the statement said.
Abu Sayyaf has suffered a series of recent setbacks, including the capture in Manila last week of one of their leaders, Khair Mundos. Days later, two followers of Mundos were also arrested.
Jimmy Nurilla and Bakrin Haris, allegedly involved in the kidnapping of foreigners, were caught in a raid Monday at a fishing village outside Zamboanga, Major Ariel Huesca, head of Zamboanga's anti-terror unit, told reporters.