Troops seize terror camp, kill 42
AFTER five days of fighting in Butig town, Lanao del Sur province, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) killed 42 Islamist rebels and seized control of a stronghold of a Moro rebel group linked to the international terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
“The troops have already seized Friday before dusk the stronghold of the terrorists,” AFP Western Mindanao command spokesperson Maj. Filemon Tan Friday told the media in a text message, referring to an armed group led by brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute.
“We are still pursuing the rebels, using armored assets,” Tan said.
Three soldiers were killed and 11 wounded when the forces seized the bastion of an affiliate of JI, a Southeast Asian network of Islamist militants, in Lanao del Sur.
The Maute group, estimated to have around 80 to 100 members, attacked a military detachment in Butig on Feb. 20, leading to intermittent clashes with the military in the area and the consequent evacuation of thousands of residents.
Tan earlier told reporters that based on intelligence reports, Omar Maute himself was among those killed in the firefight and military air strikes on Wednesday.
Tan said the army was shelling rebel positions with 105-mm howitzers Friday, while air force planes dropped bombs and helicopters fired rockets near the town of Butig, a base of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
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