Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The world this week - October 24 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Art rocks and shocks Paris

Read more

#TECH 24

Samsung's Gear VR Reviewed

Read more

#TECH 24

How to become a Cyborg

Read more

ENCORE!

Paris rediscovers Picasso

Read more

#THE 51%

Should freezing your eggs be a company benefit?

Read more

REVISITED

Norway: Utoya massacre survivors still seeking answers

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Tunisia clashes: Police exchange fire with armed terrorists near capital

Read more

FOCUS

Ukraine's crippled elections

Read more

Asia-pacific

Dozens killed in fierce fighting between army and rebels

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-13

Heavy fighting between Abu Sayyaf militants and Philippine troops in the restive southern island of Basilan has killed at least 23 soldiers and more than 20 rebel fighters, a military official announced Thursday.

AFP - At least 23 government soldiers and more than 20 Muslim extremists were killed in a day-long clash in the southern Philippines, the commanding general said on Thursday.
  
The bodies of the 23 soldiers and 20 Abu Sayyaf rebels were recovered after fierce fighting Wednesday in the town of Ungkaya Pukan in the southern island of Basilan, said regional commander Major General Benjamin Dolorfino.
  
The fighting broke out as the military overran an Abu Sayyaf camp and found numerous home-made bombs, ready for detonation. They also recovered 13 high-powered firearms, the general said.
  
At least four wounded soldiers were seen being flown in by helicopter to the southern city of Zamboanga.
  
Soldiers who brought the dead bodies back to Zamboanga City said many of their slain comrades had apparently been hit by sniper fire.
  
Fighting has ceased but troops are still clearing the area to ensure no insurgents remain, Dolorfino said.
  
Soldiers are also still pursuing other Abu Sayyaf members, he added.
  
Intelligence agencies have said the Al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden helped in the formation of the Abu Sayyaf group more than a decade ago.
  
The group has carried out bombings and mass kidnappings in the south, mostly targeting Christians and foreigners. It has raised money by ransoming hostages but has also killed some when they were not paid promptly.
  
While the Philippine military has killed and captured many Abu Sayyaf leaders -- partly with US assistance -- the extremists remained active and in January they held three international Red Cross workers hostage for several months.
  
Two hostages were freed in April while the last hostage, Italian Eugenio Vagni was released on July 12 after nearly six months in captivity.

Date created : 2009-08-13

COMMENT(S)