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20 soldiers wounded in Philippine gunbattle with Abu Sayyaf, says military

Published on Apr 11, 2014 6:03 PM

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines (AFP) - Twenty soldiers were wounded on Friday in an hours-long gunbattle between troops and Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf extremists blamed for beheadings and kidnappings in the southern Philippines, the military said.

"There is still sporadic fighting in the area. Operations are still going on," national military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala said.

The military launched the assault on the strife-torn southern island of Basilan as part of an operation to capture Puruji Indama, an Abu Sayyaf commander notorious for beheading and mutilating victims, Lieutenant Colonel Zagala told AFP.

Indama, who has a bounty of 3.3 million pesos (S$92,840) on his head, has also been blamed for holding foreigners for ransom in the southern Philippines over the years.

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