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Abu Sayyaf militants kill 2 soldiers in southern Philippines

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Manila:  A Philippine military official says Abu Sayyaf militants have killed two soldiers who went to a market but reinforcement troops later retaliated with an assault that may have killed an unspecified number of the attackers in the country’s south.

Military commander Brig. Gen Alan Arrojado says about 10 heavily armed militants opened fire on the soldiers on Sunday then stole one of their motorcycles before fleeing into a jungle in Sulu province. The victims were in civilian clothes and had pistols but were killed before they could return fire.

A military report said Monday that the attackers belonged to an Abu Sayyaf faction led by Moammar Askali.

Askali’s group reportedly received a huge ransom in exchange for freeing two German tourists in October, allowing it to acquire new weapons.

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