Philippine extremist clashes leave 14 dead

Philippine elite troops backed by helicopter gunships fought Al-Qaeda-linked militants Thursday in the group's stronghold on a southern island, in clashes that killed 14 people, the military said.

The soldiers battled Islamic extremists from the Abu Sayyaf group on the troubled island of Basilan, with the fighting leaving at least nine soldiers and five militants dead.

The group, which was founded in the 1990s with seed money from then Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, has been blamed for the worst terror attacks in Philippine history including deadly bombings and kidnappings for ransom.

Eleven soldiers and at least five insurgents were also wounded in the clashes, which started when Abu Sayyaf gunmen attacked rubber plantation workers, said regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang.

The military had rushed to the scene to repel them, said Cabangbang, and helicopter gunships had been deployed to support the troops.

"The fighting is taking place in a forested area. Our troops are engaged in an intense running gun battle," he told AFP.

Even as troops were battling one group of rebels, more Abu Sayyaf fighters launched attacks, even ambushing the military's reinforcements, said Captain Albert Caber, the local military spokesman.

Casualty figures may be even higher as not all the fallen Abu Sayyaf fighters were recovered, the military said.

The same band of Abu Sayyaf fighters had launched similar attacks in the same part of Basilan in previous weeks including an ambush that left six farm workers dead and 22 wounded on July 11, Cabangbang said.

The plantation workers' cooperative operating in the area had previously received extortion letters purportedly from the Abu Sayyaf demanding payment of over $1,000 a month in exchange for not being harmed.

The heavily-forested island of Basilan has long been a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf.

About 600 US troops have been rotating through the southern Philippines for a decade to help train local troops in hunting the Abu Sayyaf. However the Americans are barred from taking part in combat.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Shorter hours for rail lines tomorrow
    Shorter hours for rail lines tomorrow

    The Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will have shorter hours tomorrow for the replacement of defective railroad tracks during the Holy Week. …

  • Noy increases allowances for cops, soldiers
    Noy increases allowances for cops, soldiers

    President Aquino has signed a joint congressional resolution raising the daily subsistence allowance for both members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino signed last March 27 the merged Joint Resolution 2 of the Senate and Joint Resolution 26 of the House of Representatives. Speaking to reporters, Lacierda yesterday said the daily allowances of police officers and soldiers were raised from P90 …

  • Oil firms raise gas prices today
    Oil firms raise gas prices today

    This year’s Holy Week break will be accompanied by an increase in local pump prices after oil companies announced yesterday a P1.10 per liter hike for gasoline and P0.60 per liter for diesel effective today. “Phoenix Petroleum Philippines will increase the prices of gasoline by P1.10 per liter and diesel by P0.60 per liter effective 6 a.m. of March 31, 2015 to reflect the movements in the prices of refined petroleum products in the international market,” said Phoenix Petroleum, an independent …

  • DFA denies dropping Phl claim to Sabah
    DFA denies dropping Phl claim to Sabah

    The Philippines has never offered to drop its Sabah claim in exchange for Malaysia’s support for Manila’s arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea issue, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. “In the context of our friendly bilateral relations, our two countries have been for years exchanging ways on how to address the issue of the extended continental shelf (ECS) in the South China Sea,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said in explaining the DFA’s …

  • Pagcor remits record high P5 B to national treasury
    Pagcor remits record high P5 B to national treasury

    The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has remitted P5 billion in cash dividends to the National Treasury, fully settling all its arrears incurred in the last several years. Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Cristino Naguiat Jr. said with this year’s remittance, the state-owned gaming firm has fully settled all remaining arrears in cash dividends that were incurred by the previous administration since 2005. Pagcor’s cash dividends to the National Treasury under its …

  • Maysak moves closer to Phl
    Maysak moves closer to Phl

    The typhoon with international name Maysak slightly accelerated as it moved closer to the Philippines yesterday, threatening to dump rains over eastern Luzon this weekend, the state weather bureau said. Rene Paciente, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Maysak was spotted at 2,175 kilometers east of Mindanao as of 1 p.m. yesterday. Paciente said based on their latest forecast, Maysak is likely to affect …

  • Phl gets P2-B climate projects from Germany
    Phl gets P2-B climate projects from Germany

    The Philippines is getting 41 million euros or around P2 billion from the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of Germany that will fund 10 bilateral projects to address the impact of climate change. Climate Change Commission (CCC) vice chairman Lucille Sering yesterday met with Norbert Gorissen – head of the International Climate Finance of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety – to discuss the projects, some of which will be …

  • Metro sizzles at 35º Celsius
    Metro sizzles at 35º Celsius

    While the start of the summer season has yet to be declared by the state weather bureau, Metro Manila experienced its hottest temperature so far this year at 35.1 degrees Celsius last Sunday. Rene Paciente, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), yesterday said the highest temperature was recorded around 3 p.m. at the Science Garden in Quezon City. Meanwhile, PAGASA recorded yesterday the hottest temperature in …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options