12 soldiers killed, 5 wounded in gunfight with Abu Sayyaf gunmen in the Philippines

MANILA - Twelve soldiers, including an officer, were killed and five others wounded in a firefight with Abu Sayyaf gunmen in a remote town in the Philippine province of Sulu on Monday (Aug 29) afternoon.

Major Filemon Tan, spokesman of the military's Western Mindanao Command, said the latest fighting broke out at around 4.30pm local time, involving troops from the Army's 35th Infantry Battalion.

He said the battalion was pursuing an undetermined number of miltants led by Radulan Sahiron. The fighting lasted until around 6pm, he added.

It occured after the killing of 21 Abu Sayyaf men in skirmishes with soldiers last Thursday and Saturday, also in Sulu.

Seventeen soldiers were wounded in the fighting.