Soldiers are battling an estimated 100 heavily armed members of the Maute Group to retake some areas in Butig, Lanao del Sur reportedly taken by the bandits Thursday.
Initial reports disclosed that some 100 members of the Maute Group occupied some vital installations in Butig Thursday night.
“Our troops are taking positions now, Joint Special Operations Unit were already deployed,” reports said.
Soldiers engaged 15 members of the Maute Group in an encounter at around 10 a.m. yesterday in Barangay Bayabao in Butig, Major Filemeon Tan, spokesperson of the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command, said.
Nobody from either side were killed or wounded but the military spotted four of the 15 men they clashed armed with rocket-propelled grenades.
Brig. Gen. Restituo Padilla, Armed Forces spokesperson military, said the Maute Group did not take the entire town, which include the municipal hall.
“Please correct the impression that the Maute Group occupied the municipal building of Butig. This is not true,” said Padilla.
“The building they occupied is already the old abandoned building that is not being used. They did not attack the municipal building,” he added.
Padilla said the building is currently being occupied by the Maute Group members and their families.
The official said intensified operations have been launched against the Maute Group.
“The AFP as launched an operation to chase after the Maute leaders. The operation has been going for the last two days,” said Padilla. (Aaron B. Recuenco)