Eleven Philippine soldiers were killed in a gunfight with dozens of Abu Sayyaf armed fighters allied with the ISIL (ISIS) group on Friday, the military officials said.
The clashes happened in Danag village in Patikul town in Sulu province in the country’s southern island of Mindanao. The troops had been maneuvering for an assault when they came upon about 40 Abu Sayyaf fighters in the forested mountains.
An hour-long gunfight ensued before the Abu Sayyaf fighters retreated. According to the statement released by the military, the armed group is believed to be led by Abu Sayyaf commanders Radulan Sahiron and Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan. The two have been blamed for kidnappings and beheadings in the southern Philippines.
Fourteen other soldiers were wounded in the clashes and are currently undergoing treatment. An undetermined number of fighters were either wounded or killed, the military said.