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Iran Press TV

9 Filipinos killed in fresh Abu Sayyaf attack in southern Philippines

Iran Press TV

Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:0PM

Nine people have been killed and 16 others injured in an attack on their village in the southern Philippines.

Military and police officials said that some 20 members of Abu Sayyaf stormed Tubigan village on Basilan island and opened fire on villagers early on Monday.

The attack then triggered resistance from pro-government militiamen and additional troops that were dispatched to the area. Clashes continued for two hours, officials said, adding that some militiamen were killed in the confrontation. Security forces then began a hunt for the militants who fled the village, the military said.

Abu Sayyaf, a terror group that has pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, is known for its years of militancy against the Philippine government. The group, blacklisted by both Manila and Western governments, has carried out some high-profile ransom kidnappings, beheadings, bombings and other forms of violence in areas mostly in the south of the island nation.

An ongoing siege in the city of Marawi has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the southern third of the Philippines under martial law. That has also been meant to prevent senior commanders of Abu Sayyaf, especially those close to Daesh, from staging attacks in other areas while troops struggle to find the hideouts of militants in jungles in Basilan to recover more than dozen foreigners who are believed to be held captive by Abu Sayyaf.

The Monday attack on Tubigan village sparked condemnation from local authorities, with Governor Mujiv Hataman saying the assault on children, women and the elderly was a tactic by Abu Sayyaf to deflect public attention from successful military operations against the militants in the south.

"They are cowards because they couldn't face their military adversaries," said Hataman.

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