MANILA — The number of Maute Group bandits killed in the ongoing military offensive in Butig town, Lanao Del Sur has climbed to 19, while 13 militarymen were wounded.
During a briefing, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the number of casualties and wounded were as of noon Monday.
All troops wounded in action were evacuated and undergoing treatment in various medical facilities.
Dislodgement operations are now being conducted by the 103rd Infantry Brigade assisted by armored and artillery units. Also backing these assets are close-air support units spearheaded by SF-260 and OV-10 attack planes by the Air Force.
Padilla said Maute casualties could go higher as government forces are now zeroing in on the old Butig municipal hall and Barangays Sindig and Bayabao where most of the terrorists are holed up.
Maute supporters living in these areas are providing aid to the terrorists.
Padilla expressed hope that areas held by Maute members would be overrun by the military soon.
There are no civilians in the areas as most of them have been evacuated early Friday, he added.
Padilla said the terrorists tried to capture last February the Butig municipal hall only to be foiled by government troops. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA-northboundasia.com