Eighteen people were reported killed during a three-hour encounter between the military and members of the militant group Awliyah.
In a report gathered by Allvoices from the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) in southern Philippines, the clash occurred early at dawn Sunday in the town of Talipao in the province of Sulu.
According to Philippine Marine commander Brigadier General Romeo Tanalgo, 13 rebels were killed while two others belong to government troops.
Three civilians were also killed during the encounter.
Based on initial information, 50 armed men raided a detachment in the area that resulted in the scrimmage.
Aside from those killed, six other soldiers and three civilians were reportedly injured
WestMinCom spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang alleged the group is associated with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) of bandits.
The group Awliyah is headed by a Commander Hatib Zacaria, the report said.