Zamboanga: Six Islamist militants were
killed and their training camp in the restive southern
Philippines seized after a week of fighting, a military
official said on Saturday.
The militants killed in the operation near Sumisip town
on the island of Basilan were members of the Al Qaeda linked
Abu Sayyaf group, said the local military chief.
Seven soldiers and 12 militants were also wounded.
"The Abu Sayyaf laid several bombs as booby traps and
(got) some of its followers to delay the troops from
advancing," Brigadier-General Eugene Clemen said. Army troops,
marines and police took part in the fighting.
The military suspect the camp was used as a training camp
for bomb-making, the general said.
The soldiers seized ammonium nitrate, concrete nails,
circuit boards and switches, and grenades along with battery
packs, blasting caps, and a handcuff which the military
believe was used in a previous kidnapping by the group.
They also found a list of phone numbers, bomb-making and
marksmanship manuals and documents outlining the group's
principles, he added. Some of the improvised bombs found at
the camp were deliberately detonated by soldiers.
The Abu Sayyaf is believed to have around 400 members and
is said by western intelligence agencies to have been set up
with funds from Al Qaeda in the early 1990s. It has been
blamed for many of the country's worst terrorist attacks.
First Published: Saturday, March 13, 2010, 22:06