Over 40 killed in Philippines fighting

August 13th, 2009 - 12:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Zamboanga City (Philippines), Aug 13 (DPA) Twenty-three soldiers and more than 20 militants from the Abu Sayyaf group have been killed in fierce fighting in the southern Philippines, the military said Thursday.
The clashes erupted Wednesday when government troops swooped down on a training camp of Abu Sayyaf rebels in Ungkaya Pukan town in Basilan province, 900 km south of Manila.

Major General Ben Dolorfino, a regional military commander, said most of the slain soldiers were killed by sniper fire. “More than 20 Abu Sayyaf rebels were also killed in the fighting,” he said.

Dolorfino said soldiers overran the training camp and seized 13 high-powered firearms and dozens of improvised bombs that were already rigged to explode.

The Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf rebels have been blamed for some of the worst terrorist attacks in the Philippines. They have also been behind high-profile kidnappings in the country.

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