MANILA - A Muslim extremist has been killed in fighting between soldiers and Abu Sayyaf rebels in the southern Philippines, a day after 12 people died in a similar shootout, the military said Sunday.
Troops in the strife-torn island of Jolo were on patrol when they clashed with the Islamist guerrillas on Saturday, said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Zagala.
Intelligence reports indicated that at least three Abu Sayyaf fighters were wounded in the clash, he added.
Government forces on Friday launched an operation in Basilan island, another southern stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, to capture two top leaders of the Al-Qaeda-linked group which is accused of beheadings and kidnappings.
They failed to apprehend either Puruji Indama or Isnilon Hapilon.
Seven Abu Sayyaf fighters, two soldiers and three members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighting on the side of the Philippine military were killed in Friday's violence.
Zagala said Saturday's clashes in Jolo were not related to the operation to capture the two chiefs.
The Abu Sayyaf was set up in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network. It has been blamed for the worst terror attacks in the country's history including bombings.