ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government troops killed two Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) commanders in fierce clashes in the southern Philippine province of Sulu on Friday, according to security officials.

The officials said members of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-1 clashed with the terrorist group in Mount Bawis in Panamao town and killed Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders Munap Binda and Bensio Barahama.

“Binda is the senior leader of the ASG, operating in the municipalities of Kalingalan Caluang and Panamao,” said Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command, who added that the slain commander was also linked to cross-border kidnappings in Sabah.

“Likewise, Bensio was involved in numerous kidnap-for-ransom activities, victimizing foreign nationals, including Swiss national Lorenzo Vinciguerra and Indonesians Maharudin Bin Lunani and Muhammad Farhan. He was also involved in the kidnapping of our kababayan (countrymen): Ronnie Sandagon, Jerel Pepito, Eddie Reubal, Marcial Espaňa, Arvin Sabanduquia, Rufino Bustilo, Joseph Bani, Hajan Terong, Joshua Bani and Michelle Tolentino Panes,” he said.

Vinluan added that the troops also recovered three automatic rifles from the slain terrorists.

Marine commander Lt. Col. Marvin Salvan said their successful operations against the Abu Sayyaf were guided by accurate and insightful information.

Our good intelligence operations yielded these positive results, and we are grateful that no one from our side was injured during the operations,” he added.

Salvan said operations are continuing in the area where terrorists are active.