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Philippine troops kill three more militants on tourist island

News 23 Apr 2017

MANILA Philippine soldiers have killed three more Islamic State-linked militants on a resort island where they were hiding after a failed attempt to kidnap tourists, a military spokesman said on Sunday.

The Islamist militants from the Abu Sayyaf group were killed in a clash on Saturday on Bohol island, a considerable distance to the north of their strongholds in the far south of the predominantly Christian country.

Two or three of them were still at large, said Colonel Edgard Arevalo, chief of the military's public affairs office.

"We have reports indicating that they were also wounded and running out of supplies," Arevalo said.

A group of about 10 militants infiltrated Bohol this month. Western countries have issued travel warnings about visiting the island.

Six of them were killed in a clash on April 11 and one last week.

Among those killed was their leader, who had been involved in the kidnap and execution of Canadian and German nationals in recent months, the Philippine military has said.

The military has been struggling to wipe out Abu Sayyaf, which originally had Muslim separatist aims but now engages mostly in banditry and piracy.

The group has been holding more than two dozen captives, most of them Vietnamese sailors, who are easy prey for militants equipped with small, fast boats.

(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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