Fourteen people were killed in a clash between soldiers and militants of the radical Islamic group Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines, media outlets said.

Seven soldiers and seven radicals were killed in a shootout last Saturday in the Patikul district of Sulu province.

The soldiers were part of a reconnaissance group that ran into the Muslim extremists by chance and the battle ensued, military sources said.

Founded in 1991 by Philippine Muslims who fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, Abu Sayyaf is a local chapter of Jamiat Islamiya, the Southeast Asian branch of al-Qaeda.

Considered a terrorist group by the Philippine and United States governments, it has been blamed for some of the bloodiest attacks n recent years, as well as for numerous kidnappings. EFE