Two Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed in separate clashes against government troops in Basilan and Sulu, the military said on Monday.
The first encounter happened Sunday night in Simisa Island in Banguingui, Sulu while military troops were conducting an operation against bandits allegedly responsible for the Jolo Cathedral bombings, the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) said.
The soldiers got into a shootout, which lasted for more than an hour, against at least 15 armed bandits led by Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Salip Murah.
In Isabela City, Basilan, another Abu Sayyaf bandit was killed while a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) was wounded in a clash Monday afternoon, Wesmincom said.
The 15-minute firefight took place as troops conducted a security patrol in Masola village following reports that armed men were sighted in the area.
After the shootout, the military recovered the body of the bandit and an M-14 rifle.
Westmincom chief Lieutenant General Arnel Dela Vega vowed to continue to hunt for Abu Sayyaf bandits.
-- Report from RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News