5 soldiers killed in clash vs. Abu Sayyaf

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 17) — Five soldiers were killed while 23 others were wounded when they fought members of the Abu Sayyaf group in Patikul, Sulu Friday, the military said Saturday.

According to the military's Western Mindanao Command, the firefight lasted for more than an hour at Barangay Liang at around 4 p.m.

An initial report said the soldiers encountered around 50 Abu Sayyaf fighters under leader Almuder Yadah.

The Abu Sayyaf group is one of the foreign terrorist organizations listed by the United States Department of State.

Duterte in July reached out to the bandits, calling on them to stop the violence in Mindanao and talk peace with the government instead.

READ: Duterte offers peace talks with Abu Sayyaf after signing Bangsamoro law  

This, despite his previous statements that he does not talk to terrorists, dispelling claims he tried to negotiate with ISIS-linked groups that attacked Marawi City in May 2017. The Abu Sayyaf faction led by slain senior leader Isnilon Hapilon joined the Maute brothers in the five-month war that led to over 100 casualties, most of them local and foreign terrorists.

This is a developing story. Please refresh page for updates.