AT LEAST eight members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed in an encounter between the armed group and the Philippine Marines during Tuesday's encounter in Capual Island, Sulu, the military said Wednesday, February 8.

The encounter started around 8 a.m. in the town of Omar in Sulu, where five ASG members were initially killed.

Western Mindanao Command public information office chief Captain Jo-ann Petinglay said that during the pursuit operations in the afternoon, another round of armed confrontation started that resulted in the killing of another three.

Among those killed were Karra Kinod, Asbiali Ijiram, Bari Rabah, and Hassan Angkong, all ASG members who have standing arrest warrants.

Petinglay said the bodies of the ASG members were recovered by troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu.

She said government troops recovered from the encounter site two grenade rifles, 145 rounds of M-14 rifle ammunition, 12 rounds of M-16 Armalite rifle, six assorted suspenders with ammunition pouch, assorted camouflage and digital uniforms.

"Military operations are currently being intensified to contain the Abu Sayyaf Group and facilitate the possible rescue of hostages in the hinterlands of Sulu," she said.

The Abu Sayyaf bandits are still holding captive 27 people, including 21 foreigners, who were separately seized.

The hostages included the following: a Dutch; a German; a Korean; seven Indonesians; five Malaysians; six Vietnamese; and, six Filipinos. (SunStar Philippines)