Government troops attacked an Abu Sayyaf camp in the rebels' southern stronghold before dawn Tuesday, triggering a five-hour clash in which five of the al-Qaida-linked militants were killed and one government militiaman was wounded, the military said.
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino said one of the dead was identified
as Ridwan Musa - an Abu Sayyaf commander linked to a string of
The camp was in the village of Tuburan Proper on Basilan island,
said Dolorfino, the regional military commander.
The militants, suspected of receiving funds from al-Qaida, are
notorious for bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings.
The Abu Sayyaf is believed to have about 400 fighters and is
suspected of sheltering militants from the larger Southeast Asian
terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
An estimated 600 U.S. troops are stationed in the Philippines,
mostly in the south to help Philippine troops fight the Abu Sayyaf
and Jemaah Islamiyah.