Homemade bomb kills 2 soldiers in southern Philippines

AP News
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Posted: Aug 07, 2015 7:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A homemade bomb believed to have been set off by Abu Sayyaf militants killed two soldiers on Friday in a restive southern province, the military said.

The two soldiers were part of a security detail guarding a highway used by troops and civilians in Basilan province, said Ensign Chester Ramos, a regional military spokesman.

Though largely on the run following years of U.S.-backed military offensives, the Abu Sayyaf group remains a threat in Basilan and nearby islands.

At least 15 people, including children and police officers, were wounded in two separate explosions blamed on the Abu Sayyaf near a mosque at a police compound on Jolo Island farther south of Basilan in May.

The Abu Sayyaf is estimated to number about 400 fighters, and has turned to ransom kidnappings and extortion to survive following setbacks from the military offensives.

The group is still holding a Dutch birdwatcher seized three years ago, and a southern Philippine town mayor abducted from her home in April.