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Five dead as militants attack Philippine tourist island

At least one policeman was confirmed killed in the fight.

Image: Shutterstock/N8Allen

A PHILIPPINE POLICE officer was killed early this morning in clashes with 10 suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf kidnap group on the resort island of Bohol, authorities said.

Five bodies have been recovered at the scene of the fighting, Philippine military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said on ABS-CBN television in Manila.

At least one policeman was confirmed killed in the fight, national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said in a statement.

“Security forces reported that the armed group is well-armed with heavy-calibre weapons, but now cornered in an isolated section” of Bohol, Philippine military chief of staff General Eduardo Ano said in a statement.

The incursion would be the first on the tourist island by the Abu Sayyaf, which has long engaged in kidnapping for ransom — often targeting foreigners.

The group, also blamed for deadly bombings, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State movement that holds large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The gunmen sailed into the Bohol town of Inabanga, going upriver toward a remote section of the island aboard three fast boats, Inabanga police officer Edwin Melicor told AFP by telephone.

A clash broke out as police went to investigate, Melicor added.

The Abu Sayyaf is based on islands about 500 kilometres southwest of Cebu, and most often kidnap people from coastal regions and vessels close to their strongholds of Jolo and Basilan islands.

However the militants kidnapped two Canadians, a Norwegian and a Filipina from Samal, a tourist island about 500 kilometres to the east of Jolo last year. The Canadians were beheaded and the other two were released after ransoms were reportedly paid.

© – AFP, 2017

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