Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte visits wake of a slain soldiers in Zamboanga City

A handout picture made available by the Presidential Photographers Dividion (PPD) on 01 September 2016 shows Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte (R) saluting the flag-draped coffins of 15 soldiers killed in a gunbattle with Muslim Abu Sayyaf militants during his visit to the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City, in southern Philippines, 31 August 2016. At least 15 soldiers were killed in the Philippines in a clash between the army and militants from Abu Sayyaf, a supporter of the so-called Islamic State, in the south of the country, local media reported. The clash took place in Patikul, on Jolo Island, when a military patrol was attacked by about 120 heavily armed men, the chief of the Public Affairs Office of the Armed Forces, Edgard Arevalo said. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered government troops to destroy the Abu Sayyaf militants, after the they beheaded an 18-year-old Filipino hostage, kidnapped last July in Jolo, a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf. Abu Sayyaf, founded in 1991 by a handful of veterans of the Afghan war against the Soviet Union, is responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in the Philippines and numerous kidnappings through which the group funds its activities.

Source: Cyprus News Agency