MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – The Maute compound in Marawi City was raided Tuesday morning, December 6, as troops continued pursuit operations against the leaders of the local terrorist group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
One Special Action Force (SAF) trooper was wounded in the joint operation of the police and military.
The military’s 65th Infantry Battalion, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Police Regional Office’s Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) and Criminal and Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) implemented search warrants against several members of the Maute family.
Search warrants for the violation of the country’s firearms and illegal drugs laws were issued by a Maguindanao court against the homes of Farhana R. Maute, Abdullah R. Maute, Mohammad Khayam, Abdulrhaman R. Maute, Mahater R. Maute, Abdul Azis R. Maute, Hamsa R. Maute and Mahater R. Maute.
By 2:15 in the morning, government forces “dominated the area of operation and immobilized all persons inside the target houses without any resistance,” according to a report from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF), which provided tactical support for the operation.
One SAF trooper, PO2 Rolando Redondo of the 103rd Special Action Company, was injured when an improved explosive device set off at target 4 of the area. He was brought to an Army ambulance right away.
Government forces also recovered the following: two 81-mm mortar cartridges and a Romeo-Suarez shotgun.
The Maute brothers – Omar and Abdullah – grew up in Marawi City. The town of Butig in Lanao del Sur, where they camped out and recruited locals to their organization, is the hometown of their mother. It is less than 2 hours away by land from the city.
Clashes first erupted between the military and the Maute group in February this year, prompting the local government to abandon the municipal hall and hold office at the neary building of the National Irrigation Authority. (READ: On the day of Duterte visit, AFP retakes Butig town hall from Maute)
The military launched a massive offensive against the group in late November, that killed 49 alleged Maute group members and wounded 21 soldiers.
The terrorists have since retreated, occupying areas close to the camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Butig. This prompted the MILF to raise concern. (READ: Maute group taking refuge near MILF areas)
The military claims the members of the Maute group have been attempting to take refuge near MILF areas to take advantage of the peace process, confident that the military will not attack MILF camps. But some residents said they suspect MILF members are coddling Maute members. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com