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Asia-Pacific

Fifteen killed as Islamic insurgents attack Philippine military

media Philippines President Benigno Aquino arrives in Japan for an official visit … Reuters/Toru Hanai

Thirteen insurgents and two soldiers were killed when a little-known Islamist group attacked a military post in the southern Philippines, the army said Sunday. The 50 attackers struck at dawn but were beaten off by the more than 60 troops stationed at the outpost on the island of Jolo.

The attackers were members of a group called Awiiyah, which has links to the Abu Sayyaf grouup that has been responsible for dozens of attacks and kidnappings on Jolo and other parts of the south, according to regional military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang.

The group was trying to take control of a remote section of Jolo from the territory, he said.

"They probably attacked based on the wrong information," he said. “They may have thought the soldiers were still getting up but at that hour, there are already a lot of soldiers who are active.”

Five soldiers were also wounded in the attack and had to be flown to a hospital by helicopter, according to Cabangbang.

Most of the Philippines population is Roman Catholic but it also has about four million Muslims, mainly in the south.

Muslim separatist groups have been fighting for separation for four decades but the main one, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is currently negotiating peace with the government.

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