AFP: Beheading of soldier in Lanao Sur a ‘war crime’
MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has denounced as a “war crime” the beheading of a soldier in Lanao del Sur in the government’s clashes last week with an “extremist” group linked to international terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah.
In an interview with the media on Wednesday, the AFP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, confirmed that “one of our men was decapitated” in the clashes between the military and a Moro rebel group led by the Maute brothers in Butig, Lanao del Sur.
Padilla called the decapitation “a war atrocity, a war crime.” “We are documenting it closely so we can file the appropriate complaints against this group,” Padilla said. “Our soldiers should be respected, as they only fight for a bigger cause.”
“But this group [Maute group] are extremists, which is why [military] [actions going after them] have been intense,” Padilla said.
The Maute group suffered at least 24 fatalities, who reportedly included leader Omar Maute. The group’s camps have already been seized by the military, and only clearing operations in the area are ongoing.
Last week, the AFP reported at least three soldiers killed in the gunfight that lasted for days.
The Maute group, estimated to have around 80 to 100 members, attacked a military detachment in Butig last Feb. 20, leading to intermittent clashes with the military in the area and the consequent evacuation of thousands of residents.
“We assure our citizens that clearing operations will be done as fast as possible in Butig, so the residents can go back to their homes as quickly as possible,” Padilla said. SFM
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