4 soldiers injured, Sayyaf man dead in new clashes

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Army soldiers killed an Abu Sayyaf rebel in fresh clashes that also left four infantrymen wounded in Basilan province in the volatile Muslim autonomous region in southern Philippines.

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The fighting erupted late Thursday in the village called Umalon in Ungkaya Pukan town after troops pursuing the rebels caught up with them and a firefight broke out. Soldiers from the 18th Infantry Battalion also recovered the body of the slain rebel.

The clashes coincided with the Abu Sayyaf bombing in Lamitan City, also in Basilan, that injured Senior Inspector Gean Gallardo, the local police chief. The improvised explosive, planted near a gasoline station, went off while policemen were preparing to defuse the bomb.

It was the second bombing in Lamitan this week. Abu Sayyaf also detonated an improvised explosive outside a nightclub, but there were no reports of casualties.

On Thursday, jail guards at the provincial prison foiled an attempt by more than two dozen inmates to escape after their plan was exposed. Jail officials said there is need to rehabilitate the old prison facility. AL JACINTO

AJ/BF

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