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Philippines says eight jihadists killed in the south

AFP  |  Manila 

The Philippine said today it had killed at least eight Islamic militants in an operation to stop jihadist efforts to set up base in the country's south following the deadly five-month siege of city last year.

Armoured vehicles and artillery were used against about 50 gunmen from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on on Thursday, local spokesman said in a report.

The said last month that gunmen linked to the Islamic State group have renewed an armed campaign to set up a caliphate in the region, home to the Catholic nation's Muslim minority.

A first attempt was put down last year after a US-backed military campaign that flattened and left more than 1,100 people dead.

Survivors of the siege have recruited a fresh force of about 200 gunmen, according to the military, with warning they could attack other Mindanao cities.

Bisana said troops recovered the bodies of eight gunmen, although they believe the militants carried off 15 other dead comrades.

He added that a soldier was also wounded in the fighting near the town of Saudi Ampatuan.

"Soldiers have been vigilantly guarding the entire central Mindanao in order to constrict the firefight in specific... areas, and continue to pursue the remnants of the terror group," dela said.

The is a group of the (MILF), the country's largest Muslim guerrilla force that signed a peace treaty with in 2014 after a decades-long armed campaign that claimed more than 100,000 lives by official estimates.

The MILF has echoed Duterte's warnings in recent months, as the two sides pushed to get to pass a Muslim that both said would help roll back jihadist gains in Mindanao.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 18:50 IST