MANILA, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Eight army soldiers have been wounded in clashes with Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippine island province of Sulu, the military said on Monday.
Military local commander Brig. Gen. Divino Pabayo said troops were dispatched on Saturday afternoon to a remote village on the outskirts of Patikul town in Sulu, a known lair of the Abu Sayyaf militants, after villagers reported the presence of some 40 militants in the area.
A gun battle that raged for 150 minutes ensued resulting in the wounding of eight soldiers and a still undetermined number of militants, Pabayo said.
He said the troops recovered improvised explosive device in the village, apparently left behind by the fleeing Islamist fighters.
Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist militant group sympathetic to the Islamist fighters in the Middle East, has carried out kidnappings in the Philippines' southern region.
The group, which is active in the impoverished western Mindanao region, is considered the most radical of the extremist movements in southern Philippines.