Five suspected members of Philippine militant group Abu Sayyaf have been shot dead in a firefight with police on the Malaysian part of Borneo island, authorities said Tuesday.
Police were attacked by men armed with guns and machetes Monday when they raided a settlement near the town of Beaufort in Sabah state, and returned fire.
“Five male suspects were successfully defeated,” said Sabah police commissioner Hazani Ghazali in a statement.
They were believed to be from the Abu Sayyaf group, police said, self-proclaimed Islamic militants whose stronghold is in the Muslim-majority southern Philippines, not far from Sabah.
One of them has been identified as Mabar Binda, a militant leader on the Philippine police’s wanted list, Malaysian newspaper The Star reported.
Abu Sayyaf, which has distant links to the Islamic State group, has been responsible for some of the Philippines’ worst terror attacks in recent years.
They have carried out bombings as well as kidnappings of Western tourists and missionaries since the 1990s, often operating in poorly policed sea areas bordering Malaysia and Indonesia.