Three Marine troopers and two armed men were killed while 10 other soldiers were injured as security forces clashed with Abu Sayyaf members in Patikul, Sulu, early Sunday, a military spokesman said.

The clash occurred in Brgy. Bakong around 6:30 a.m., Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said.

Members of the 6th Marine Battalion Landing Team were patrolling to verify reports on the presence of kidnap victims in the area, when they encountered Abu Sayyaf members under Radullan Sahiron and followers of Tahil Sali, Cabangbang said.

The military has yet to release names of the slain and injured soldiers. Cabangbang, however, said one of the slain armed men has been identified as a certain Kaisar.

Maj. Gen. Rey Ardo, Western Mindanao Command chief, has ordered that all available air and naval assets be deployed to support the engaged troops and fetch the slain and injured, Cabangbang said. (John Roson)

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