Manila (dpa) – A militant commander involved in the kidnapping of two Germans was killed in a clash with soldiers in the southern Philippines, a military spokesman said Sunday.
One soldier was also killed when troops tried to arrest Sihata Latip, a commander of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, on Saturday in Parang town on Jolo Island, 1,000 kilometres south of Manila.
“Latip was killed when he resisted arrest and engaged the security forces in a firefight,” military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc said.
“Latip was involved in the abduction of foreigners and in a series of violent attacks against government forces,” he said.
The military launched an offensive against the Abu Sayyaf after two German hostages – a 72-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman – were freed in October following the reported payment of 250 million pesos ($5.6 million) in ransom.
The kidnappers had threatened to kill one of the German hostages if ransom was not paid by a deadline they set.
The foreigners were taken captive in April while sailing on a yacht in the western province of Palawan.
Abu Sayyaf rebels are still holding two European birdwatchers who were kidnapped in February 2012.
Two Malaysians, one Japanese, four Chinese and five Filipinos are also reportedly being held captive.