MANILA: Philippine troops have killed a suspected Abu Sayyaf commander wanted for kidnapping and attacks on foreign ships, a military commander said today.

Troops were on patrol in waters off Jolo island, 1,000km south of Manila, on Saturday when they clashed with the Abu Sayyaf terrorists aboard a wooden boat, Brigadier-General Cirilito Sobejana said.

The militants were led by Badong Muktadil, a commander wanted for kidnapping, murder and attacks on foreign vessels at the maritime border with Malaysia, according to Sobejana, commander of a military anti-terrorism task force.

“The neutralisation of Badong is another big setback for the Abu Sayyaf, particularly on their kidnapping and terroristic activities.”

Among the recent attacks blamed on Muktadil’s group was the kidnapping of six crew members from a Vietnam cargo ship in February, and the killing of one crew member.

The terrorists are still believed to be holding about 20 hostages, including 14 foreigners, on Jolo and Basilan.

One of the captive crew members from the MV Giang Hai was also killed during a clash between his abductors and troops in Jolo in July.

It was not clear if the victim was killed in the crossfire or shot by the Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

Abu Sayyaf is believed to be allied with the Islamic State (IS) terrorist movement.

Isnilon Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf leader, has been identified as the head of IS-allied militants fighting government troops in Marawi City since May 23. – dpa

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