Army halts hunt for IS followers for Ramadan
BUTIG, Lanao del Sur—The military on Friday said it was suspending offensives against armed followers of the international terror network Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS) that was to enter its 10th day in deference to Muslims’ celebration of the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan, a fasting period for Muslims, could start today or tomorrow, depending on the sighting of the moon.
Col. Roseller Murillo, head of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, said the Maute group, the local version of the Khilafah Islamiya Movement and which declared loyalty to IS, had suffered heavy casualties during the military offensive.
At least 37 members of the Maute group had been killed, Murillo said.
On Friday, the colonel said, soldiers took over a Maute hideout, which the terrorists call Camp Darul Iman, in Barangay Sandab.
The camp used to belong to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but has since been occupied by the Maute group, Murillo said.
In February, MILF forces left Camp Darul Iman to give way to massive military operations at that time. The Maute group took advantage of the MILF’s absence and used the camp as a base to launch attacks.
Murillo said soldiers had recovered improvised explosive devices in the camp, a flag of IS and several belongings.
Murillo said the Army would keep monitoring the activities of the Maute Group and would launch attacks against the terrorists, if necessary, even during Ramadan.
The military has claimed killing at least 37 members of the Maute Group since offensives were launched against the Isis followers.
Two soldiers, however, were killed in a land mine blast as they pursued the armed group. Richel Umel, Inquirer Mindanao
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