Two government soldiers, including an Army captain, were killed and at least four others were injured in a firefight Tuesday with members of the Abu Sayyaf and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, the military said.
Philippine Army spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang identified the slain officer as Capt. Harold Camazo, the commanding officer of the elite 11th Scout Ranger Company.
Cabangbang said Camazo was slain in a firefight with combined Abu Sayyaf and BIFF men and "lawless elements" in Ungkaya Pukan town in Basilan Province during a "clearing operation."
Capt. Jefferson Somera, spokesman of the Army's 1st Infantry Division, said another soldier -- an enlisted personnel -- also died in the fighting.
Somera said three more soldiers were also wounded in the clashes. However, Cabangbang said four soldiers were injured.
Somera said the fighting broke out around 11:26 a.m. local time at the vicinity of barangay Tongbato though Cabangbang said the clashes occurred in barangay Materling.
Somera said sporadic fighting were still ongoing as of press time Tuesday.
Somera and Cabangbang said troops have yet to determine if there were casualties on the enemy side.
The Abu Sayyaf was founded in the 1990s and had since perpetrated a number of high-profile attacks, including kidnapping and bombing. The Philippine military estimates the Abu Sayyaf, which has links with international terrorist organizations, has about 400 members at present.