TIPO-TIPO, Philippines, April 16 (UPI) -- The Philippines military overran an al-Qaida-linked, Abu Sayyaf Group camp in a three-hour firefight, killing at least eight bandits, officials said.
Col. Carlito Galvez said Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon sustained a "slight wound" on the head in the Monday incident in Tipo-Tipo and is facing kidnapping and murder charges, GMA News reported.
Galvez denied claims by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that they were the target of the early morning attack, Manila Standard Today reported.
"No, the MILF was not the target. It's just that the location of the Abu Sayyaf's lair was only 300 meters from the MILF position. The target really was the bandits' lair. Perhaps, the bandits believed the MILF will help them if attacked but during the firefight the MILF did not help them. Our soldiers were able to overrun the ASG camp in an hour," he said.
Col. Rodrigo Gregorio, spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command, said Abu Sayyaf has been linked to several high-profile kidnappings, murder by beheading, extortion and bombings.
He said they are responsible for the burning of Ipal town in 1994, the attack on the Golden Harvest Plantation in Lantawan where civilian hostages were beheaded, the kidnapping of foreign and local tourists in Dos Palmas and the 2001 attack on the Dr. Jose Torres Memorial Hospital in Lamitan.