Three Philippine soldiers killed, Abu Sayyaf insurgents suspected

ZAMBOANGA CITY , Philippines, July 14 (UPI) — Suspected members of Abu Sayyaf militant group killed three Philippine soldiers, local officials said.

The unidentified soldiers were buying food in the village of Manilop in Sulu province, part of the Philippines’ Autonomous Region in Islamic Mindanao, when they were attacked. The soldiers were part of a battalion fighting Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist militant group with ties to the Islamic State. While no group claimed responsibility for the attack, the military said Abu Sayyaf as liable.

It is unclear if the soldiers were armed at the time of the attack. Responding members of the battalion arrived too late to catch the suspects, Maj. Filemon Tan Jr. of the Western Mindanao Command said.

Abu Sayyaf is holding more than a dozen hostages, mostly kidnapped foreigners, and earlier in the year killed Robert Hall and John Ridsdel, Canadian hostages, after ransom demands were not met.

Ridsdel’s death was announced in April, Hall’s in June.

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