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Troops take large Abu Sayyaf camp in Basilan

The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Sunday said it had captured an Abu Sayyaf camp in Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan, describing it a "highly accomplished mission."

Joint Task Force Basilan commander Col. Juvymax Uy said members of Task Group Hunter led by Lt. Col. Andrew Bacala captured the camp of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Furuji Indama and Radzmil Janatul on Friday.

Uy said they were able to pinpoint the location of the camp with information provided by Abu Sayyaf members who have recently surrendered.

The ground troops conducted the raid after a series of airstrikes and artillery fires.

In an updated report, Uy said five members of the Abu Sayyaf group were found dead near the camps during clearing operations.

He earlier said the Abu Sayyaf group suffered heavy casualty based on blood stains found in the camp.

Recovered from the camp were two M16 rifles, a Baby armalite rifle, an M1 Garand, four sacks of rice, solar panels, personal items, improvised explosive device components and a document believed to be from a Vietnamese victim.

“The enemy suffered heavy casualties as evident from the massive bloodstains and several identifiable human flesh,” said Bacala.

Also discovered at the camp were 42 makeshift huts.

Meanwhile, Uy said the Joint Task Force Basilan is also conducting civil-military operations to win the support of the locals against the Abu Sayyaf.

Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon is believed to be fighting alongside members of the Maute group and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Marawi City against government troops.

The militants took siege to the city on May 23, prompting President Duterte to place Mindanao under martial law.

The military said 310 people have been killed in the ongoing conflict, including 225 militants, 59 soldiers and 26 civilians. —ALG, GMA News