MANILA, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Three government soldiers and one Abu Sayyaf militant were killed following an encounter in Sulu province of the southern Philippines on Friday morning, the military said.
In a statement from the Western Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the military said marines encountered an undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf militants on Friday morning in a town called Patikul in Sulu province.
After a gun battle which lasted for several minutes, three marines were killed and three others endured minor injuries, according to the military statement.
The military said the troops recovered one dead body of the Abu Sayyaf militant after the firefight.
Patikul is a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines. The group is notorious for carrying out kidnappings, bombings and beheadings in western Mindanao, particularly in their lair in the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu.
The Abu Sayyaf Group, numbering about 500, have been sowing terror in the southern Philippine region since the early 1990s.