11 militants killed, 2 soldiers wounded in Philippines clashes

The Philippine military said Sunday that 11 bandits were killed and two soldiers wounded in fierce clashes between troops and the Maute group in Laanao del Sur in the southern Philippines.

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Marine Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement that five other Maute members were also wounded in the clashes that broke out around 9 a.m. Saturday after the bandits occupied an abandoned municipal hall in Butig town.

Residents fled the area as a result, according to the military.

“The recent action of the lawless Maute Group in occupying an abandoned portion of Butig Municipality 9 o’clock in the morning of 26 November 2016 has driven the people from other areas of the town to flee their homes,” Arevalo said in a statement.

“This prompted the immediate conduct of military operations focused on dislodging the lawless group,” he said.

Arevalo said the lawless group has reportedly raised the ISIS flag “which was expected since they have long been professing allegiance to the foreign terror group,” he said.

“This is still part of the Maute Group’s agenda in courting support and encouraging similar minded individuals to support ISIS,” he said.

Arevalo said the military will continue its offensive operations against the group to prevent the situation from escalating or spilling to other areas.

Maute group is an armed Islamic State-influence militant group composed of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels and allegedly some foreign fighters led by a certain Abdullah Maute, the alleged founder of Dawlah Islamic or Islamic State based in Lanao del Sur.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines blamed the Maute group for the series of bombings and robberies in the southern Philippines, including the Sept. 2 blast in Davao City that killed 15 and injured 70 others. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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