Philippine troops kill 4 militants in the south (Philippines)


Brigadier-General Alexander Aleo said troops had found three abandoned rebel camps in the mountains near Indanan town and seized bomb-making materials and anti-tank projectiles used to make crude mines.


(30.11.2005)

Philippine soldiers killed four suspected members of a Muslim militant group linked with al Qaeda in an operation to flush out militants from the remote southwestern island of Jolo, an army general said on Monday.

The Abu Sayyaf militants were resting in a wooded area when an army patrol hunting their one-armed, horse-riding local commander ran into them and opened fire.

"The rebels did not know what hit them," Brigadier-General Alexander Aleo told reporters. Four were killed on the spot, while a few others managed to escape, he said.

Hundreds of troops are battling about 150 Abu Sayyaf rebels and rogue members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a larger Muslim separatist group that signed an Indonesian-brokered peace deal with the government in 1996.

Abu Sayyaf, with about 400 fighters, is suspected of links to al Qaeda and the regional militant network Jemaah Islamiah.

Aleo said troops had found three abandoned rebel camps in the mountains near Indanan town and seized bomb-making materials and anti-tank projectiles used to make crude mines.

Abu Sayyaf is blamed for a series of bombings in the southern Philippines and Manila in the past three years, including the country's worst terror attack -- the bombing of a ferry near the capital in February 2004 that killed more than 100 people.

The military has been hunting Radullan Sahiron, the Abu Sayyaf chief on Jolo, who is wanted for a series of high-profile kidnappings including the abduction of 21 tourists and resort workers from Sipadan island in Malaysia in May 2000. He has a bounty of 5 million pesos ($92,000) on his head.

Von: 28 November 2005, http://today.reuters.com

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