Officials say al-Qaeda-linked militants have killed three government militiamen and wounded seven others in an ambush on southern Basilan Island. The militants lost one fighter in the battle.

Col. Ricardo Visaya says Abu Sayyaf rebels under senior leader Furuji Indama attacked auxiliary force members on patrol on Thursday in a rubber plantation in remote Sumisip township.

Col. Visaya says the rebels withdrew after more than an hour of fighting. He says they are being pursued by troops.

Indama’s group two years ago abducted and later executed three rubber farm workers in Sumisip after they failed to collect a ransom.

The U.S. has blacklisted the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist group because of deadly bombings, kidnappings and beheadings over the last two decades.

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