Philippines — Filipino army troops captured a jungle encampment of al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf gunmen and killed five militants in a gun battle that also left two soldiers dead in the southern Philippines, officials said Sunday.
Among the militants reportedly killed in Saturday's clash near mountainous Sumisip town on Basilan island was Juhaiber Alamsirul, a close aide of Abu Sayyaf commander Nurhassan Jamiri, who has been blamed for beheadings and kidnappings, regional military spokesman Lt.-Col. Randolph Cabangbang said.
Two army scout rangers were killed and five others were wounded in the three-hour clash involving about 30 militants near the village of Baiwas. Troops captured an Abu Sayyaf encampment, where they found bunkers, a hand-held radio and rebel belongings, Cabangbang said.
Troops have been searching for Jamiri, who was reportedly wounded in a Basilan clash last month, he said.