Two Abu Sayyaf gunmen killed in Philippines

The Abu Sayyaf is a small gang of self-styled Islamic militants.

Zamboanga: Philippine troops clashed with a group of al Qaeda-linked militants on the southern island of Basilan on Sunday, killing two of them and arresting a third.

Army Scout Rangers were patrolling a remote jungle village in Basilan`s Tipo-Tipo town when they encountered the Abu Sayyaf militants, touching off a 45-minute gunbattle, the military said in a statement.

"The troops killed two ASG (Abu Sayyaf) members and captured one," it said. "No casualty on government side."

Security forces recovered from the site a grenade launcher, assault rifles and other weapons and ammunition left behind by fleeing rebels.

The Abu Sayyaf is a small gang of self-styled Islamic militants blamed for the country`s worst terrorist attacks, including a 2004 bombing of a passenger ferry that left over 100 dead.

Philippine intelligence officials say the group was formed in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden`s al Qaeda network.

US military intelligence assistance and equipment have helped the Philippine military arrest or neutralise key Abu Sayyaf leaders over the past decade, although the group is still believed to number around 300 or 400.

Bureau Report

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