Philippine Military Says 19 Islamist Terrorists Killed in Prolonged Gunbattle at Butig, Lanao del Sur

Number of casualties could go up as fighting between troops, Maute Group continues
By: – Reporter / @cynchdbINQ
/ 06:30 PM November 28, 2016

At least 19 members of the terrorist Maute Group have been killed while 13 soldiers have been wounded on the government side in their ongoing gunbattle for an old municipal building in Butig, Lanao del Sur.

Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said in a press briefing on Monday in Camp Aguinaldo that the number of casualties, including those injured, were expected to further increase at the end of the day as the military intensified its operations against the group.

 
“We can say that the number of casualties could go up as fighting between troops and the Maute Group continues. We have been receiving reports that the clashes are spread out in different areas,” Padilla said.

The series of firefights started on Saturday after the group attacked the town and occupied a number of facilities, including the old and abandoned municipal building last Thursday.

Those wounded on the government side have yet to be identified, Padilla said, but they were already brought to the hospital for treatment as retrieval operations continued.

READ: At least 13 soldiers hurt in Army operations vs Maute Group

“Most of them were slightly wounded and their conditions are not life threatening,” Padilla said.

Troops backed by SF-260 and OV 10 attack planes from the Philippine Air Force (PAF) pounded on the enemy position to flush out the rebels from the building, and the town.

Padilla said the terrorists were hiding in areas mostly occupied by their families and relatives while other civilians who were not related to them already fled and sought refuge on safer grounds.

He said the Maute brothers and their members were on the run after it was found out that their group was responsible for terrorist activities in Mindanao, particularly the recent Davao bombing.

Padilla said he expected the group to again resort to diversionary tactics in view of the increased military pressure to decimate them. JE/rga

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/848711/afp-19-maute-members-killed-13-soldiers-wounded-in-butig#ixzz4RIf2rjJI
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Duterte: Not wise to drive Abu Sayyaf, Maute group to despair

AFP to thwart more Sayyaf, Maute attacks as gov’t pursues peace – Duterte
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By: – Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 12:16 AM November 28, 2016
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Rodrigo Duterte arrival from Peru on Nov. 24, 2016.

President Rodrigo Duterte —From a video by RTVM

MANILA — President Duterte has opted to smoke the peace pipe than order punitive military actions against the Abu Sayyaf Group and the ISIS-linked Maute Group, which had seized control of the municipal hall of Butig town, Lanao del Sur province.

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The President issued his rather stunning remarks as the gripping images of the Maute Group members raising the black flag of the extremist ISIS at Butig municipal building came out in social media.

Duterte, however, clarified that simultaneous with the peace efforts of the Philippine government, the Armed Forces of the Philippines would work to prevent more attacks by the Abu Sayyaf and the ISIS-inspired Maute Group in Lanao del Sur.

“The ISIS is really dangerous. That is why you have to use your head. Do not drive them to despair because that is precisely what happened in Africa,” the President told the gathering of the San Beda College of Law Alumni Association in Taguig City last Saturday.

The tough-talking President apparently counted out military offensive as an option, saying such measure would only create more problems as the local terrorists would be “driven to desperation.”

“Instead of the groupings there, they are driven by Muslim nationalism or Moro for that matter. It’s Moro nationalism because they are really the owners of Mindanao long before the Spaniards came,” he said.

“That’s why you cannot finish (the war) because that place belongs to them. And what is the driving force? Nationalism of their land,” Mr. Duterte added.

The President, a former mayor of Davao City, had been giving contradicting statements on how his administration would deal with the Abu Sayyaf and other Muslim extremist groups, which he had lambasted for beheading their hostages.

He earlier hinted at talking with the Abu Sayyaf which, he said, were “not criminals,” but were only “driven to desperation” and “pushed to the wall” by the failure of the previous administrations in dealing with their problems.

The President later warned that he would “eat alive” members of the al-Qaeda-linked terror group if they refused to stop their kidnapping activities and bomb attacks in Mindanao.

Without elaborating, Mr. Duterte said he believed in the strategy of former President Fidel V. Ramos, a former chief of the now-defunct Philippine Constabulary, in dealing with the Moro “rebellion.”

Said the President: “What will we do? We will just have to wait. We will just have to talk and talk. What we will pass on to the next generation is a talking administration.”

“You cannot pass a fighting, a war or a country at war that is forsaken,” he added.

If he wanted to, the President said he could just send military helicopters to drop bombs in known Abu Sayyaf strongholds in Jolo province.

“You invade Jolo and the rest of the places there. Kill everyone with arms. (But) it will (only) worsen the situation, believe me,” he said.

Quoting Ramos, the President said “there can never be a real fight” in Mindanao.

“You just have to talk,” he said. “I was asked pointblank questions by the media in Zamboanga. They said, ‘Mr. President, this is the sixth time you visited the wounded and dead soldiers. When will you end the Abu Sayyaf?’ I said, ‘What do you want?’ I mean I could do it. I could burn Jolo now. I could bomb the place.”

“And in the mountains, I will order carpet bombings and I would tell the military after the operation, ‘I don’t want to see a single person standing.’ Do you want me to do that? And if I kill children and innocent people and all, can we survive as a nation?” he lamented.

AFP MNLF medical mission

The military launched simultaneous medical and civic action missions in Basilan as a way of giving back to the communities. Some of the areas that received help are communities of the Moro National Liberation Front, which they consider a partner in fighting the Abu Sayyaf rather than a threat.

The Philippine government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have been doing their best to prevent the Maute Group from attacking nearby municipalities in Lanao del Sur, Malacanang said.

“The Maute Group has long been professing allegiance to ISIS. So the reported raising of the ISIS flag does not come as a surprise. The Maute Group continues to court ISIS,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar in a statement.

“However, the Armed Forces of the Philippines will continue to frustrate the sinister objectives of the Maute Group and (the) government will prevent the situation from escalating to other areas,” he added.

Meanwhile, as the national government mulls initiating peace efforts with the “lawless armed groups” in Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been tasked to thwart the Maute Group in its attacks on nearby municipalities in Lanao del Sur.

“The Maute Group has long been professing allegiance to ISIS. So the reported raising of the ISIS flag does not come as a surprise. The Maute Group continues to court ISIS,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar in a statement.

“However, the Armed Forces of the Philippines will continue to frustrate the sinister objectives of the Maute Group and (the) government will prevent the situation from escalating to other areas,” he added.  SFM

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/848420/duterte-not-wise-to-drive-abu-sayyaf-maute-group-to-despair#ixzz4RIgGoWaL
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One Response to “Philippine Military Says 19 Islamist Terrorists Killed in Prolonged Gunbattle at Butig, Lanao del Sur”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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