3 soldiers killed, 11 hurt in Lanao del Sur clash

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines - Three soldiers were killed and 11 others were injured as security forces continued their offensives against local terrorists in Butig, Lanao del Sur, the military said Friday.

The operations, which started last weekend, also left about 42 bandits dead, according to intelligence reports received by the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM). However, no bodies of slain bandits have been recovered so far.

“Our troops seized the stronghold of the terrorists yesterday before dark. Sadly, three (soldiers) were killed in action and 11 were wounded in action. More or less 42 enemies were killed (based on) intelligence reports,” WESMINCOM spokesman Maj. Filemon Tan said.

Soldiers recovered two M16 rifles and a home-made Cal.50 rifle from the encounter site.

Tan said armored personnel carriers were employed during the operation. Attack helicopters have also been placed on standby and are ready for deployment when the need arises.

Last weekend, a terrorist group led by Omar Maute and his brother Abdullah raided a detachment of the 51st Infantry Battalion in Butig town, leaving two soldiers dead and six others wounded.

The attack prodded government forces to launch offensives against the Maute group, which is said to have ties with the followers of slain Indonesian terrorist Mohammad Muktar.

On Wednesday, WESMINCOM claimed to have received reports that Omar was among those killed in a series of military air strikes launched last week.

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