At least six Abu Sayyaf gunmen were killed while three soldiers were injured as government troops raided the bandit group’s lair in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan, early Monday.

The operation in Brgy. Silangkum was launched purposely to find Abu Sayyaf commanders Furuji Indama and Isnilon Hapilon, Col. Carlito Galvez, commander of the Army’s 104th Brigade, said by phone.

Troops clashed with an undetermined number of bandits around 5:30 a.m. and the firefight lasted for three hours, Galvez said.

Soldiers captured the Abu Sayyaf’s encampment an hour into the fighting, he said.

The Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command, meanwhile, said it coordinated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front before carrying out the operation.

“The operation was conducted and directed only against the Abu Sayyaf, with utmost consideration for the safety of MILF communities in the operational area,” Col. Rodrigo Gregorio, AFP Westmincom spokesman, said in a statement. (John Roson)

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