Seven suspected militants of the Abu Sayyaf Group were killed in a clash with government troops near a remote island in the southern Philippine Sulu province before dawn on Tuesday, the military said.
Corleto Vinluan, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said the fighting broke out before 2:00 a.m. local time when patrolling troops intercepted a band of terrorists aboard a speed boat near the Sulare Island in Parang town, Sulu.
He said the troops launched the attack after receiving information about the plan of the terror group to conduct kidnapping activity in the mainland Mindanao region. The firefight lasted 25 minutes, he added.
Troops from the elite Scout Rangers and Special Forces used an attack helicopter and a multi-purposed attack craft to defeat the terrorists, William Gonzales, the military commander on the ground who planned the operation, said.
"Search and retrieval operations are ongoing using our air and naval assets in the area of engagement," Gonzales said in a statement.