AFP: 19 Maute members killed, 13 soldiers wounded in Butig
At least 19 members of the terrorist Maute Group have been killed while 13 soldiers have been wounded on the government side in their ongoing gunbattle for an old municipal building in Butig, Lanao del Sur.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said in a press briefing on Monday in Camp Aguinaldo that the number of casualties, including those injured, were expected to further increase at the end of the day as the military intensified its operations against the group.
“We can say that the number of casualties could go up as fighting between troops and the Maute Group continues. We have been receiving reports that the clashes are spread out in different areas,” Padilla said.
The series of firefights started on Saturday after the group attacked the town and occupied a number of facilities, including the old and abandoned municipal building last Thursday.
Those wounded on the government side have yet to be identified, Padilla said, but they were already brought to the hospital for treatment as retrieval operations continued.
“Most of them were slightly wounded and their conditions are not life threatening,” Padilla said.
Troops backed by SF-260 and OV 10 attack planes from the Philippine Air Force (PAF) pounded on the enemy position to flush out the rebels from the building, and the town.
Padilla said the terrorists were hiding in areas mostly occupied by their families and relatives while other civilians who were not related to them already fled and sought refuge on safer grounds.
He said the Maute brothers and their members were on the run after it was found out that their group was responsible for terrorist activities in Mindanao, particularly the recent Davao bombing.
Padilla said he expected the group to again resort to diversionary tactics in view of the increased military pressure to decimate them. JE/rga