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Gov't troops seize another terrorist lair in Lanao.

Byline: Julie M. Aurelio

GOVERNMENT troops seized another hideout which is allegedly the main enclave of a local terrorist group responsible for the series of attacks in Butig, Lanao del Sur.

The final assault and clearing operation on the hideout of the group led by the Maute brothers ended around 4:20 p.m. Sunday in Barangay Puktan in Butig town.

The Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) said the main enclave of the local terrorists was where most of their improvised explosive devices were being hidden.

The 103rd Infantry Brigade carried out the assault, during which the armed lawless elements were reportedly seen dragging away their wounded comrades as they fled from pursuing troops.

They have been hiding there for a long time, they held that place in Barangay Puktan. We began clearing the area when they retreated further, said Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., Wesmincom spokesperson.

So far, an 81mm mortar round rigged as an improvised explosive device and two grenades rigged as booby traps were recovered during the clearing operations.

Tan said troops were continuously scouring the barangay to clear it of booby traps and explosives.

There was no intense firefight or resistance as the government troops advanced to the enemy lair, with soldiers exchanging sporadic gunfire with the enemy every now and then.

It may be recalled that on Thursday, the military seized another camp of the Maute brothers, which left at least 24 enemies dead.

Sunday's assault in Barangay Puktan left no casualties so far, save for the recovery of the explosives rigged as booby traps.

Our troops are pursuing the remnants of this group and clearing the area of IEDs and booby traps, Tan said.

The Maute group, reportedly led by brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute, is allegedly affiliated with the terrorist Jemaah Islamiyah group.

On Feb. 20, the local terrorists attacked the detachment of the 51st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Barangay Bayabao, Butig, killing two soldiers and wounding six others.

Since then the military has been conducting clearing operations, with intermittent fighting every now and then.

Last Thursday, 24 rebels were reportedly killed when government troops seized its stronghold in Butig, while the military suffered three casualties and 11 others wounded.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Mar 1, 2016
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