World Bulletin / News Desk
Airstrikes and artillery fire by military on ISIL-linked groups in southern Philippines killed 15 extremists on Sunday, an army official said.
Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez, chief of the Armed Forces Philippines' Western Mindanao Command, confirmed that a total of 15 extremists from the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups were killed.
He said government forces struck with 105mm howitzer cannons and FA-50 jet fighters on the position of Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups.
"We're still verifying an intelligence report that Isnilon Hapilon (a leader of the Abu Sayyaf group) is seriously wounded during the troops' assault," he said in a statement.
Galvez also confirmed that an Indonesian identified as Mohisen was among the casualties during the offensives, but said the military is still verifying whether or not he is a member of the ISIL-linked groups or Jemaah Islamiyah.
The Abu Sayyaf is notorious for kidnapping and beheading after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release. It is believed to still be holding dozens of captives -- Malaysians, Indonesians, Vietnamese, a Dutch, a Korean, and some Filipinos -- in the jungles of Sulu.
The Maute group is said to be actively recruiting minors as child warriors. In April 2016, they abducted six workers from Butig and beheaded two of the hostages.
Last Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte had publicly appealed to the two largest Muslim rebel groups in the country not to provide sanctuary to ISIL-linked terrorist groups, otherwise the government would be forced to enter their territories.Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Ocak 2017, 17:44