MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The attack was perpetrated by about 40 members of the Abu Sayyaf group in the island province of Basilan, the newspaper specified. The militants were also reported to have set fire to houses and a day care center before fleeing.
The deadly attack took place after the Philippines’ military freed Do Trung Huiqe, a Vietnamese sailor, who was taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf in Basilan province. The man was kidnapped by the group in November 2016, along with five other crew members of cargo ship MV Royale 16. The media reported that it was unknown whether or not the rescue operation and the attack were linked.
The news comes amid the Philippine army's operation against terrorist groups linked with Daesh. Martial law was declared on the island in May by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after a conflict broke out between Philippine security forces and Islamists affiliated with Daesh.