MANILA, Philippines, Four people were killed, as troops clashed with some 50 Abu Sayyaf militants in Sulu, an island province, in the southern Philippines, early on Thursday, a military official said.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, spokesperson of Philippine Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said, an intense firefight broke out around 2:25 a.m. on Thursday, in the coastal town of Patikul in Sulu province, as troops tracked the Abu Sayyaf militants.

Besana confirmed a soldier was killed, while two others were wounded, during the firefight. They were immediately evacuated to the military station hospital, located at Camp Teodulfo Bautista, in the village of Busbus, Jolo, capital town of Sulu.

Three Abu Sayyaf fighters were also killed in the clash, Besana said.

The government troops were conducting an amphibious assault, to check on reports that three Indonesian fishing crews, who were seized last week, off Sabah, Malaysia, were brought to Sulu, Besana said.

The Abu Sayyaf Group is a small, radical militant group that operates in the western fringes of the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. They made Sulu and Basilan island provinces, as their hideouts.

The group, which is notorious for killing, kidnapping for ransom and a series of bombings, in southern Philippines, are reportedly holding at least three foreign and three Philippine hostages.

Source: NAM News Network

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