"So we are accelerating our operations in those areas and hopefully we can neutralize the Abu Sayyaf group
by the end of this year," Sobejana said.
The President's remarks came after authorities suspected the alleged involvement of the Abu Sayyaf group
in the recent suicide bombing in Sulu.
Abdul Hamid said it was easy for the Abu Sayyaf group
to intrude into Malaysian waters.
"They are members of the Abu Sayyaf Group
involved in kidnapping for ransom in the southern Philippines and Sabah," Mohamad Fuzi said, adding that the 34-year-old suspect had the skills to produce firearms for the group's use.
The Abu Sayyaf Group
abducted the two Indonesian nationals from two different fishing boats off Kertam, Sabah, Malaysia on November 4, 2016, the report said.
The military commander said the firefight ensued for five minutes as the Abu Sayyaf group
managed to withdraw tagging along with them their wounded leader.
Caption: Members of the extremist Abu Sayyaf group
in the Philippines
The soldiers encountered members of the Abu Sayyaf group
in one of their hideouts in the forests of Jolo island before dawn, local military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolf Cabangbang told reporters.
Among those who escaped are believed to be several key members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group
Police were still investigating if the Abu Sayyaf group
was behind the attack.
Interior secretary Angelo Reyes said four leaders of the al--Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group
were among the dead.
Only last month the US troops stopped their joint exercises against the Abu Sayyaf group
- who are responsible for a spate of kidnappings including western tourists.
Bin Laden and his brother-in-law, Mohammed Khalifa, set up al-Qaeda operations in the Philippines in the early 1990s, working closely with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group
The Abu Sayyaf group
has been engaged in kidnap-for-ransom and is holding an American missionary couple and a Filipino nurse hostage in Basilan Islan, about 900 kilometers south of Manila.