Philippine military launches a raid on insurgents (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Abu Sayyaf militant group is holding 10 hostages, including a Dutch national, three Indonesians and six Filipinos, said Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the military’s Joint Task Force, on March 27.

Sobejana said there were about 300-400 insurgents of the southern Philippines-based group operating in the Western Mindanao region, especially in Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi provinces in the Sulu archipelago.

During his visit to Patikul city on March 26, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte instructed government forces to increase attacks on the Abu Sayyaf group, which is notorious for conducting bombings, shootings, assassinations and kidnapping.

The Philippine military's priority is to rescue the kidnapped victims so that the operations won't be restricted, Sobejana said.

The Abu Sayyaf helped the Maute group in attacking Marawi city in May 2017 that claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people. The fighting that lasted five months ruined the Philippines's only Islamic city.-VNA