ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a terrorist organization operating in southern Philippines, reportedly beheaded four fighters of the Muslim guerilla faction of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in a clash between the two groups in southern Philippines, police said Sunday.
The clash broke out when the MNLF forces under spiritual leader Ustadz Habier Malik reportedly attacked the Abu Sayyaf group that refused to free captive Jordanian broadcast journalist Baker Adbullah Atyani Sunday morning in the mountains of Patikul township in Sulu province, island of Jolo, a police security official said.
At least 5 MNLF guerilla members were killed by the Abu Sayyaf militants in the assault. Four of the victims were subsequently beheaded, police said.
Jordanian broadcast journalist Baker Atyani and two Filipino companions were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf gunmen in Jolo, Sulu on June 13 of last year. The Filipino companions were released by ASG on Saturday night.
Nearly 500 MNLF fighters rushed to the camp of the Abu Sayyaf in the village of Buhanginan in Patikul town early Sunday and were met by around 300 militants, according to police.
Government security forces from police and marines have been deployed at the border to avert the escalation of the fighting between the two forces as fighting continued intermittently, according to the Sulu provincial police office.