After Army kicks Maute out, it can’t say when group will die
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY— The relentless assault by government forces may have driven the Maute Group out of Butig, Lanao del Sur, but the military is uncertain if the group had been neutralized, according to a ranking armed forces official.
Maj. Gen. Harold Cabreros, vice commander of the Philippine Army, said he could not give a time frame for the complete annihilation of Maute Group but said the military is exerting extra effort to make sure that the group, which had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS), is no longer a threat to communities in Lanao del Sur.
He said the military “cannot just predict” when the Maute Group would be annihilated, “but based on the success of our operations, surely our troops can get the group anytime.”
Soldiers from the Army’s 1st Infantry Division continue to be in pursuit of members of the group.
Butig was freed from the control of the Maute Group after several days of attacks and bombardment by the military last week, but the offensives left parts of the town in ruin with houses and buildings shattered by mortars.
Thousands of residents have also fled their homes following the series of fighting between the terrorists and government troops.
Cabreros said the Army is ready to lend a hand in the reconstruction of the structures that had been destroyed.
Cabreros visited the 4th Infantry Division headquarters at Camp Edilberto Evangelista in Barangay Patag here as guest of honor in graduation rites for 248 new soldiers over the weekend.
The new soldiers would be deployed to the division’s battalions in Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions.
While there is no shortage of soldiers, Cabreros said the Army needed more soldiers to fill vacancies for those who retired or had been discharged from duty.
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