ZAMBOANGA CITY- Abu Sayyaf militants clashed with government troops in the town of Sumisip in Basilan, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous in southern Philippines.
The militants clashed Saturday twice with army soldiers, one in the morning in the village of Benengbengan, and another later in the day on the village called Cabcaban, but there were no reports of casualties from both sides.
The militants managed to escape after the fighting, but it was unclear who led the Abu Sayyaf groups in attacking soldiers deployed in Sumisip town, where the military frequently held surrender ceremonies for alleged members of the notorious group wanting to start a new life.
Dozens of those who surrendered since last year were all freed by the military and even paid money for their weapons, saying, the militants – despite being involved in heinous crimes – had no arrest warrants.
Basilan is a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, blamed by authorities for the spate of terrorism and ransom kidnappings of foreigners in the restive region. (With a report from Rhoderick Beñez.)
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