• Soldier dies, 5 wounded in Basilan blast

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants detonated an improvised explosive a village in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan on Tuesday killing a government soldier and wounding five others as sporadic clashes continued in the province. There were no reports of Abu Sayyaf casualties in the latest fighting, but military propaganda said dozens of militants had been killed and injured in government offensives in Basilan and in nearby Sulu, but troops failed to recover the bodies of those reportedly slain in the assaults that began early this month. Armed Forces of the Philippines chief, General Ricardo Visaya recently visited troops in Zamboanga City and was briefed on the progress of the offensives against the extremists, still holding at least a dozen foreigners kidnapped in the southern region and in nearby Sabah in Malaysia. President Rodrigo Duterte said he is considering imposing martial law in the two Muslim provinces to address the security problems posed by the radical group. Duterte said he also needs to get the commitment of the Moro National Liberation Front – which signed a peace deal with Manila in 1996 – before he starts dealing with the ISIS-affiliated Abu Sayyaf group.

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