5 militants now dead in south Philippines clashes

Army retaking parts of area previously occupied by Abu Sayyaf-linked group which has hung ISIL flag on buildings

5 militants now dead in south Philippines clashes

World Bulletin / News Desk

Almost 35 members of a ISIL-linked group have been killed in two days of clashes between the Philippines military and the Maute Group, military officials said Monday.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman for Western Mindanao Command, said that forces had recaptured a town hall and other areas occupied by the group in Butig town, in the predominantly Muslim province of Lanao del Sur.

The group -- believed to have around 200 members -- seized the building, a high school and mosque Friday, and hung ISIL flags at some nearby buildings and houses.

Five months ago, they were flushed out of the area -- now abandoned by many of the town's residents -- in a major military offensive.

Philstar reported Tan Jr. as saying that the group's death toll had increased to 35 and five members had been wounded in the fighting.

He added that 13 soldiers had also been wounded.

Troops are reported to have penetrated the town hall Monday morning and pulled down the black flags.

They then raised the Philippine flag and declared the town liberated.

Last month, authorities arrested three Maute members accused of involvement in a September bombing that left 15 people dead in southern Davao City -- President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown.

The military has described the group as being linked to the Abu Sayyaf.

The Abu Sayyaf is one of two larger militant groups in the south who have pledged allegiance to ISIL, prompting fears during a stall of a peace process between the government and the country’s one-time largest Moro rebel front that it could make inroads in a region torn by decades of armed conflict.

Last Mod: 28 Kasım 2016, 17:12
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