(AhlulBayt News Agency) - At least nine people were killed and 11 others injured when suspected Abu Sayyaf-linked armed men attacked a village in the predominantly Muslim province of Basilan in the south, according to the military.
Joint Task Force Basilan Cmdr. Col. Juvymax Uy said several armed men attacked Barangay (village) Tubigan in Maluso town early Monday.
"Civilians were shot by the bandits and they burned four houses, including a day-care center in the area," Uy said in a text message.
Three women and six men were among the dead, he said.
The attack came a day after the military "rescued" another Vietnamese hostage of Abu Sayyaf in Basilan on Sunday.
Rear Adm. Rene Medina, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, confirmed the rescue of the victim who had been allegedly held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group for months.
He said the hostage, identified as Do Trung Huiqe, a crew member of MV Royal 16, was abducted along with six crewmen off Basilan in November 2016; he was recovered from Mataja Island.
"The rescued Vietnamese hostage was brought to a military hospital for medical checkup and debriefing," Medina added.
Two crew members had been beheaded in July, which prompted the Vietnamese government to ask the Philippines to closely monitor its citizens.
The Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf is led by Isnilon Hapilon, who moved to Central Mindanao to join the ISIS-linked Maute Group that attacked Marawi City on May 23, igniting a war that continues to rage nearly three months on.
Government forces continue to carry out intense operations in Basilan in an attempt to locate and rescue at least 20 Indonesian, Malaysian and Vietnamese hostages.
Last week, troops also rescued abducted Filipino construction worker who was seized by the armed group last July along with three others while working on a renovation job in nearby Sulu, the statement added.