Militants of the Abu Sayyaf group (Photo: The Malaymail Online)

Hanoi (VNA) – At least three soldiers, one police officer and five Abu Sayyaf militants were killed in a clash between Philippine government forces and the Islamic militants in the central province of Bohol, said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

General Eduardo Ano, the AFP’s chief of staff said that soldiers and police clashed with heavily-armed forces in Bohol on April 11. The military launched the operation after receiving intelligence that 10 gunmen were sighted in three boats.

Additional forces from the Army, Air Force and the Navy were at the scene to assist the AFP, with the militant group surrounded and the firefight still ongoing.

Meanwhile, Ronal de Rosa, Director General of the Philippine National Police (PNP) affirmed that police worked with the military to thwart an attack in Visayas region in the central Philippines. The militant group was hiding in houses in a village.

The US Embassy and the Australian Embassy in Manila warned their citizens to be careful, adding the embassies have received information that terrorists may attempt kidnappings in Visayas.

Rosa confirmed on April 10 that the PNP received information of a potential terrorist threat in the central Philippines.

Abu Sayyaf, founded in the 1990s, has about 400 militants operating in the southern Philippines. They are notorious for kidnappings, bomb attacks and beheading hostages.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to hunt down Abu Sayyaf and said he has no plan to strike a peace deal with the group.-VNA