ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 11, 2009) – Government troops clashed with the Abu Sayyaf Thursday in the southern Philippine province of Sulu where the terrorist group is still holding a kidnapped Italian aid worker, officials said.
Officials said at least two soldiers were killed and five more wounded in the fighting in the town of Indanan, said First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a regional military spokeswoman. "Two soldiers are killed and five others were wounded in the fighting. An undetermined number of Abu Sayyafs are also killed," she told the Mindanao Examiner.
Cacho said security forces clashed with some 150 militants under Abu Sayyaf leaders Abu Pula and Albader Parad in the village of Malimbaya. It was unknown whether the hostage, Eugenio Vagni, a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross, was with the group of Pula and Parad.
It was unknown whether the hostage, Eugenio Vagni, a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross, was with the group of Pula and Parad.
There were no reports about Vagni, who was kidnapped January 15 in Patikul town with fellow aid workers Andreas Notter, a Swiss national and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba. Both Lacaba and Notter had been released separately last month.
Abu Pula, also a former Moro National Liberation Front rebel, is called "Dr. Abu" by some people because of his purported ability to perform crude treatments on wounded guerrillas and ailing villagers.
The Abu Sayyaf i listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States.
Philippine authorities said the Abu Sayyaf was behind the spate of bombings and kidnappings-for-ransom in the southern region. Most of the ransoms it gets are being used for the purchase weapons and to finance terrorism.
Military and police intelligence reports said several Jemaah Islamiya terrorists are among those holding the aid workers - Mauiya, Dulmatin, Zulkifli bin Hir and Umar Patek - who are all wanted by Indonesia for the spate of deadly attacks, including the Bali bombing in 2002. The US has offered at least $16 million rewards for their capture. (Mindanao Examiner)