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World Briefing / The Philippines

Abu Sayyaf base seized

September 22, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Troops seized the main base of the Abu Sayyaf militant group on the Philippines' southern island of Jolo, but eight soldiers were killed when guerrillas ambushed a convoy returning from the area, the military said.

At least five rebels were killed in fighting resulting from the ambush, Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner told reporters.

Soldiers backed by airstrikes seized the base near Indanan town on Jolo, killing 19 rebels in a complex laced with bunkers and trenches, another military officer said. Hundreds of soldiers fought for more than six hours to dislodge about 200 rebels

The military said soldiers were tracking a senior Abu Sayyaf leader when they came across the base. Jolo is the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, one of the smallest but deadliest Islamic militant groups in the largely Roman Catholic Philippines.

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