MANILA - An alleged member of the terror-linked Abu Sayyaf Group was killed while three soldiers were wounded in a firefight during an attempt to rescue two kidnapped police officers on Tuesday, the military said.
Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said the encounter happened while the military was trying to rescue kidnapped police officers in Barangay Mauboh, Talipao town.
The Abu Sayyaf has been holding two female police officers and two civilians captive.
Earlier, Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said the kidnappers have given proof of life of the two police officers and asked for a P5-million ransom.
"It's actually affiliated sa ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group). It's another group na tinitingnan din sa part ng Mindanao ngayon, na parang grupo ito ng mga anak ng mga namatay na ASG (we are checking in Mindanao, this seems to be a group of children of ASG members who have died)," Albayalde told reporters.
"Hindi natin alam kung ano'ng reason nila doon sa police pero ito 'yong mga nakikita nating grupo (We don't know their reason for kidnapping the police officers but these are the groups we see)," he added.
Operations to rescue the captives are still on going, authorities said.
-- with a report from Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News