Philippine troops clash with Islamist militants, 15 dead

(This story corrects the Dec. 15 story to change the president’s identify in the seventh paragraph to “Aquino”)

Philippine troops clashed on Tuesday with Islamist militants on a far flung southern island and 15 individuals have been killed as security forces step up an offensive towards rebels who beheaded a Malaysian captive, a military spokesman stated.

Militants from the Abu Sayyaf workforce had suggested clear of presidency troops on the islands of Jolo and Basilan for the reason that beheading of a Malaysian restaurant proprietor remaining month.

The al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf, identified for kidnappings, beheadings and bombings, are one of the crucial brutal Muslim insurrection factions within the Muslim south of the mostly Christian Philippines.

Military troops killed 13 rebels in the gun battle that erupted at 5 p.m. (4 a.m. ET) within the jungles close to the city of al Barka on Basilan island, Military spokesman Filemon Tan mentioned. Two Infantrymen have been also killed and 10 had been wounded, he introduced.

Although Squaddies had been in the space for the reason that Sunday, Tan said, “It was simplest as of late when the fighting got greater.”

Sporadic skirmishes were persevering with, he mentioned.

The troopers found an important revolt base on the island, Tan stated, adding that the military had launched an offensive in opposition to the rebels for the reason that Nov. 18, when President Benigno Arroyo ordered them to hunt down Abu Sayyaf over the execution.

There was once no immediate statement from the revolt group.

Squaddies in local Jolo discovered a physique believed to be that of the beheaded Malaysian businessman in a shallow grave on Monday night and took it to a police laboratory for DNA assessments, Brigadier-Common Alan Arrojado advised newshounds.

The military spokesman in Manila, Colonel Restituto Padilla,

said an informant had led troops to the web page, and delivered, “The Top was sent to the police for DNA trying out and now the physique for DNA matching.”

A Transparent identification would be essential previous to notifying Malaysian authorities and the victim’s household, he mentioned.

Attending the Asia Pacific Economic Convention in Manila remaining month, Malaysian High Minister Najib Razak had condemned the beheading of the businessman, Bernard Then Ted Fen, calling it a “savage and barbaric act”.

The Federal Government signed a peace care for the most important Muslim rebellion crew, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in March, promising to furnish autonomy within the south and ending a 45-year struggle that killed 120,000 individuals and displaced 2 million.

(Reporting with the aid of Manuel Mogato; Modifying by Clarence Fernandez)

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