11 Islamist militants killed in gun battle with Philippine troops

Eleven Islamist militants were killed on Friday in a gun battle with government troops in the southern Philippines, a regional military spokesman said.

Seventeen soldiers were also injured in the clash in Patikul town on Jolo Island, where the militants beheaded a Filipino hostage two days ago, said Major Filemon Tan.

The troops were on patrol when they encountered a group of about 100 members of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, he said.

Among those killed was a junior leader who was allegedly involved in the kidnapping of two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipino on the southern resort island of Samal in September.

The two Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall were executed in April and June after a ransom was not paid, while the Filipino was freed in June.

The rebels are still holding captive Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad,  five Malaysians, eight Indonesians, a Dutchman and several Filipinos.

On Wednesday, Abu Sayyaf beheaded 18-year-old Patrick Jhames Almodavar after his family failed to pay a 1-million-peso (22,000-dollar) ransom.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the military to crush Abu Sayyaf and also warned that the group could be a source of recruitment for the Islamic State extremist group.

On Thursday, Duterte said he was informed that a 50-million-peso ransom has been paid for Sekkingstand but the Abu Sayyaf kept on postponing his release.

“My orders to the police and armed forces against enemies of the state: seek them out in their lairs and destroy them,” he said. “The Abu Sayyaf, destroy them, period.”

Last update: Fri, 26/08/2016 - 14:53

More from World

US abstains for first time from UN vote condemning Cuban embargo

The United States abstained for the first time in 24 years from a vote in the UN General Assembly urging an end to...

Venezuelans demand end to "dictatorship" as tensions surge

Venezuela's political crisis escalated Wednesday as the opposition announced a general strike and threatened to...

Monitor: Death toll rises to 35 in bombing of Syrian rebel village

The death toll from Wednesday's airstrikes near a school complex in a rebel-held village in north-western Syria has...

US pushing for TTIP deal ahead of Obama's Germany trip

The United States said Wednesday it is continuing to push forward with a US-European trade agreement with the "...

2016 deadliest year for migrants in Mediterranean, UN agency says

This year has been the deadliest ever for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, with at least 3,800...