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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Military captures Abu Sayyaf camp in Sulu

METRO MANILA (CNN Philippines) - Government forces have captured a camp of the terror group Abu Sayyaf after a firefight in Maimbung, Sulu, the military said Wednesday (May 25).

Maj. Filemon Tan, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said troops from the Army’s 14th Special Ranger Company fought an unknown number of lawless elements under ASG leader Idang Susukan in Barangay Gulangan for about 45 minutes on Tuesday (May 24) before the bandits withdrew.

Tan said the encampment could accommodate about 200 people and had a water source. Soldiers recovered gun parts, personal belongings, and a Honda motorcycle at the camp, he said.

The military suffered no casualties, while the number of dead or wounded on the Abu Sayyaf side was still unknown, he said.

AFP determined to rescue Samal hostages

Tan said the armed forces are doing their best to rescue the three remaining hostages still in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf. A fourth captive was killed by the Abu Sayyaf last month.

Troops have been tracking down the criminals who are holding Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marites Flor. The hostages were abducted from Samal Island on September 2015. The Abu Sayyaf killed the fourth hostage, Canadian John Ridsdel, in April.

“The deadline set by the ASG is their deadline but for the WMC, we are doing our best to immediately rescue the KVs (kidnap victims) and neutralize the ASG,” Tan said.

On Monday (May 23), the ASG released a 'final video' showing the three victims begging for help from presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte.

The victims said if negotiations fail, the Abu Sayyaf will kill them on June 13 at 3:00 in the afternoon. The bandits are asking for P300 million for each of the victims.

CNN Philippines' Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.

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