Saturday, May 15, 2010

One militant killed, 14 captured in Philippine raid

One member of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group was killed and 14 others were captured in a raid in the southern Philippines Saturday, the military said. The attack on the gunmen’s hideout on strife-torn Basilan Island surprised the militants, who quickly surrendered after a firefight left one dead.

Those caught were part of an Abu Sayyaf unit that launched a daring raid on Basilan’s capital city of Isabela in April that left 15 dead.

Also recovered were assorted high powered firearms, including grenade launchers and mortars.

The Abu Sayyaf is a small gang of Islamic militants on the US government’s list of foreign terrorist organisations.

It was founded in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network to fight for an independent Muslim state in the south of the mainly Catholic nation, Philippine military intelligence officials say.

The most brutal of several armed Muslim groups in the south, the Abu Sayyaf is also blamed for the country’s worst terrorist attacks, including a 2004 bombing of a ferry that killed more than 100 people on Manila Bay.

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