MANILA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines Wednesday claimed to have reduced the strength of the Abu Sayyaf by about a half, from a high of 500 men, since January when the military waged an intensified campaign against the group.
"Before the campaign started in January this year, we started going after more than 500 Abu Sayyaf members," said Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commander of the military's Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City.
Previous military estimates placed the strength of the Abu Sayyaf at about 300 to 400 men, mostly based in their bailiwick province of Sulu. The group is notorious for kidnapping, beheading and bombings.
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