Duterte visits troops fighting Maute group in Lanao

SECURITY CONCERNS. President Duterte speaks with AFP chief of staff Ricardo Visaya during the inauguration of a drug rehabilitation facility in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija. Photo by Robinson Ninal/PPD

SECURITY CONCERNS. President Duterte speaks with AFP chief of staff Ricardo Visaya during the inauguration of a drug rehabilitation facility in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.

Photo by Robinson Ninal/PPD

LANAO DEL SUR, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Lanao Del Sur noontime Wednesday, November 30, where the military launched intense military offensive against the Maute terror group in Butig town.

Duterte's chopper arrived 12 noon at the Army tactical command post in Lumbanayague town located less than 10 kilometers from the area of clashes in Butig.

The homegrown terrorist group occupied parts of the town, prompting a military offensive and a forced evacuation of most of the town's 16,000 residents.

Duterte talked to military commanders and a few dozen soldiers who belong to the Army 103rd Brigade, while the rest of the troops continued their offensive to flush out the terrorist group from the abandoned municipal hall of Butig. (READ: Maute's force leaves Lanao; 49 dead)

The Maute group is one of the local terror groups that pledged allegiance to ISIS which is fighting to establish a caliphate in the Middle East. It group raised the black flag of at the abandoned municipal hall of Butig. It has since been taken down, according to the military.

On Monday, November 28, Duterte confirmed links between ISIS and Maute, saying the groups are "vitally connected."

But the military continues to deny direct links between any Filipino group and the international terrorist organization. – Rappler.com