The Philippine military says it has killed 70 Abu Sayyaf militants and captured 32 others in a major offensive that began in July against the group, which is accused of kidnapping sailors from neighboring countries for ransom.

Military spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo said Tuesday that 34 other militants surrendered under pressure from military assaults in the southern provinces of Sulu and Basilan.

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to destroy the Abu Sayyaf, which is accused of kidnapping Malaysian and Indonesian tugboat crewmen in a series of attacks that prompted the three countries to map out a joint strategy to strengthen sea border security.

Duterte plans to discuss the Abu Sayyaf threat when he visits Malaysia next week.

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