The ISIS-linked news agency Amaq reported on April 7 that ISIS fighters had killed 9 soldiers and 4 officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during clashes in the Patikul area of the southern province of Sulu on April 5.
Amaq didn’t provide clear information about ISIS fighters who had clashed with the AFP. However, experts believe that the fighters are members of the ISIS-affiliated Abu Sayyaf group, that has been operating against the AFP in Sulu province for months now.
On April 5, the AFP announced in an official statement that its units had killed 11 fighters of Abu Sayyaf group and had captured 13 others in Sulu province since the beginning of April. 60 other fighters of the ISIS-affiliated group, including a commander named “Nurhassan Jamiri”, surrendered to the Philippines authorities, according to the statement.
The AFP stepped up its security operations in Sulu province during March in an attempt to free several Philippine and foreign civilians who had been abducted by Abu Sayyaf during the last few years. The Philippines authorities believe that at least ten hostages are still imprisoned by the ISIS-affiliated group in Sulu.