Two suspected Abu Sayyaf militants captured in the Philippines
At least two suspected ISIS-linked militants were captured by security forces in a fresh encounter on Thursday in the central Philippines tourist island of Bohol, the military said.
The Abu Sayyaf militants had invaded Bohol province on a kidnapping foray in April, which resulted in a bloody firefight with security forces, triggering a nationwide security alarm.
On April 11, at least nine people – five alleged Abu Sayyaf gunmen, three soldiers, and a policeman were killed in an encounter in Inabanga municipality in the province.
According to a GMA News report, the latest clash took place in Tubigon, 23 kilometers (14 miles) away from Inabanga, when soldiers continued hunting the remaining militants.
One of the arrested militants is identified as Alyas Saad, whom the military confirmed as one of the members of the group that they are running after.
The identity of the other arrested militant was not immediately known.
GMA News quoted armed forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla as saying that two were arrested after an encounter with military troops.
It was also not yet clear if he was one of the three remaining members of the group that authorities were pursuing in the province.
Since 1991, Abu Sayyaf – armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles – has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortion in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.