• Troops kill 6 Sayyaf rebels; capture 2 camps in Basilan

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government troops assaulted two Abu Sayyaf camps on Wednesday, killing at least six rebels in Sumisip town in Basilan, officials said.

    The two rebel camps were eventually overtaken by soldiers. At least 6 rebels were also wounded in the clashes.

    Two of the slain rebels were identified as Yusop Sandatan and Usop Balaman. There were no immediate reports of military casualties.

    Marine Captain Maria Rowena Muyuela, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, said the operations, which started on Tuesday, were part of a fresh offensive aimed at crippling the Abu Sayyaf group blamed by authorities for the spate of terror attacks and kidnappings in the region.

    She said troops first clashed with the group of Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders Juhaibel Alamsirul, Radzmil Janatul and Pasil Bayali in Sumisip’s Pamatsaken village and that sporadic clashes spread in Baiwas.

    Army Lt. Sally Christine Maria Magno, of the 1st Infantry Division, said the captured camps can accommodate about 100 rebels.

    “The Armed Forces of the Philippines together with the Philippine National Police and the local governments are continuously intensifying the conduct of law enforcement operations in order to defeat these lawless elements who continuously initiate atrocities in the province of Basilan and its neighboring areas,” she said.

    AL JACINTO

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