MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine military claimed 15 were killed and at least 7 were wounded in its latest offensive against terrorists in Butig, Lanao del Sur, where local terror organizations Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have reportedly linked up.
Among them is an Indonesian terror suspect identified as “Mohisen,” according to Colonel Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Armed Forces Public Affairs Office (PAO). (READ: PH deploys fighter jets vs terrorists)
“At least 15 were killed and 7 others wounded including a foreigner from groups comprised of ASG Leader Isnilon Hapilon and his cohorts from Basilan; the Brothers Abdullah, Omar, and Otto Maute; and other local and foreign terror personalities in airstrikes a little past midnight 26 January 2017 in the the municipality of Butig, Lanao del Sur,” Arevalo said.
Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año said the offensive was a significant success for the military that made an ambitious commitment to crush local terror groups by June 2017.
“It is too early to rejoice but I consider this initial success a significant gain in the campaign to defeat the terror groups in Western Mindanao by the end of June 2017 as desired by the President and Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Duterte,” Año said.
The military offensive was launched after they monitored Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon joining the Maute Group in Central Mindanao purportedly under instructions from the foreign terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS).
ISIS supposedly wants to establish a caliphate in Central Mindanao as it loses ground in the Middle East.
Hapilon is among those seriously wounded. The military believes he could die if he doesn’t get immediate medical treatment. – Rappler.com
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