By Hader Glang
ZAMBOANGA CITY, the Philippines (AA) - Government forces have foiled a kidnapping attempt by a suspected Daesh-linked group notorious for snatching foreigners in the southern Philippines' predominantly Muslim province of Sulu.
Major Filemon Tan Jr. said in a press statement Saturday afternoon that the bungled attempt took place inside a clinic on Friday and left the doctor -- reportedly targeted -- injured along with her two security escorts.
A policeman and a civilian passing near the clinic were also hit in crossfire.
"Due to the presence of the duty escorts, the kidnapping was averted," said Tan.
Earlier, Superintendent Wilfredo Cayat, the Sulu provincial director, said police had given chase, but lost the suspects.
Last Thursday, the Daesh-linked Abu Sayyaf killed a soldier and injured another in an encounter with troops in Sulu capital Jolo.
The group is holding Canadian Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Filipino Marites Flor hostage in the jungles of Sulu after beheading travelling companion fellow Canadian John Ridsdel in April.
The kidnappers have reportedly demanded 600 million pesos ($12.74 million) for Hall and Sekkingstad from the Canadian, Norwegian and Philippine governments.
Other foreign hostages still in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf include a Dutch birdwatcher and four Malaysians.
The group is also holding some Filipinos.
Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf group -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.
It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release.