At least 18 soldiers were injured in the ongoing firefight between government security forces and terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines, a military official said Friday.
Capt. Richard Enciso, spokesman of the 104th Philippine Army Brigade, said fresh fighting erupted between the Abu Sayyaf and government troops after the 18th Infantry Battalion attacked a faction of the terrorist group under Puruji Indama in Silangkum village, Tipo-Tipo town in Basilan province.
The Western Mindanao Command said government security forces pounced on the Abu Sayyaf at around 2 a.m. Friday.
Enciso said ground reports indicate that the militants have regrouped with two other Abu Sayyaf leaders, Nurhassan Jamiri and Basir Sakaran, and have occupied a school in the village of Kurelem.
The Philippine military said government troops would continue combat and pursuit operations against the Abu Sayyaf.
He said government troops attacked the members of the terrorist group after getting complaints from private contractors who are working on the Basilan circumferential road that the Abu Sayyaf were demanding money from them.)