5 killed in Philippine army clash with Muslim militants, including kidnappers of 2 Americans

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The Philippine military says soldiers attacked a Muslim militant hideout on southern Basilan island, triggering a clash that killed three Abu Sayyaf members believed to have been involved in the 2011 kidnapping of an American woman and her teenage son. Two government militiamen were killed and two others were wounded.

A military report said the operation Thursday in Ungkaya Pukan township targeted Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Sulaiman Ajanti, who was allegedly behind atrocities in Basilan and Zamboanga City, including the kidnapping of Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann and her then 14-year-old son. The Philippine-born woman adopted as a child by an American couple was released after 2 ½ months in captivity. Her son escaped after five months.

The report Friday said the clash killed Ajanti and two followers and wounded five militants.