MANILA: The Philippine military says eight more Abu Sayyaf extremists have died and a top militant commander has been wounded as troops pressed a major offensive following the killings of 18 soldiers in fierce fighting over the weekend.
Regional military spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan says four Abu Sayyaf gunmen who were wounded in battle Saturday later died and four others were killed in fresh fighting Sunday on Basilan island.
Tan says a ruthless Abu Sayyaf commander, Puruji Indama, has been seriously wounded in the head either by gun or artillery fire. Indama has been linked to deadly bomb attacks, kidnappings and beheadings of Filipino marines.
Daylong fighting in the outskirts of Basilan’s Tipo Tipo town left 18 soldiers dead Saturday in the military’s largest single-day combat loss so far this year.