At least 16 Filipino villagers, including children, killed by Abu Sayyaf militants in south

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Philippine military officials say Abu Sayyaf gunmen have killed at least 16 villagers, including women and children, in a road attack as the civilians traveled in two vans to visit relatives at the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in the south of the country.

Monday's attack was one of the bloodiest by the Abu Sayyaf in recent years.

Marine Brig. Gen. Martin Pinto says the Abu Sayyaf militants staged the attack in a coastal village in Talipao town Monday morning in predominantly Muslim Sulu province, where the militants have survived in their jungle encampments despite years of U.S.-backed Philippine military offensives.