Fighting erupts between troops, Maute group in Lanao del Sur

MANILA, Philippines – Fighting erupted between government troops and remnants of the Maute Group in Lanao del Sur on Saturday, January 20, the first encounter since the liberation of Marawi City from terrorist influence in October last year, the military said.

Major Ronald Suscano said in a press statement on Saturday that troops of Joint Task Force Ranao encountered the Maute members in Barangay Kalilangan, Masiu, Lanao del Sur that morning, after the troops responded to reports of concerned civilians.

Fighting went on for about 35 minutes before the Maute members retreated. Six soldiers sustained minor injuries, the military said.

“They attempted to escape via the lake but the troops were able to sink their two boats,” Suscano said, adding that there were 10 people in the boats.

Troops recovered one M203 grenade launcher, two rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), assorted ammunition, a hand grenade, an ISIS flag, and drug paraphernalia, among other items. –