9 dead after Abu Sayyaf bandits raid Basilan village in the Philippines

MANILA (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Nine people, including a 13-year-old boy, were killed after Abu Sayyaf bandits attacked a village in Maluso town in Basilan province on Monday (Aug 21) morning, police said.

Maluso police chief John Cundo said the armed men attacked Barangay Tubigan at 5am local time and started burning at least four houses and the barangay health centre.

Maluso Mayor Hanie Bud told the Inquirer that 10 people were also wounded in the attack that displaced about 100 families.

"While everyone was asleep, the Abu Sayyaf stormed Tubigan," Mr Bud told the Inquirer.

The mayor said the bandits hacked a government militiaman and fired at fleeing civilians. He said about 70 bandits raided the village, the second attack since 2010.

"Tubigan is a Muslim-dominated barangay (village), but its residents live peacefully regardless of differences in faith. In fact, their barangay officials are Christians," Mr Bud said.

He said the attack could be meant to divert the military's focus from the operations in Mohammad Ajul town, where five bandits had been killed recently.

Chief Inspector Cundo said policemen sent to Maluso managed to drive the bandits out of Tubigan after a firefight that lasted for more than an hour.