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AFP regains Butig hall from Maute bandits

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday said that it has already reclaimed the old municipal hall in Butig, Lanao del Sur earlier occupied by the militant Maute Group.

The military disclosed that a total of 61 Maute Group members have already been killed while 12 others were wounded as a result of an intense heavy fighting between the bandits and government troops.

Reports added that the side of the AFP has already suffered 35 wounded in action (WIA).

Army Major Felimon Tan, the spokesman of the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), said that based on reports they have been receiving on field units on the ground, troops have already captured 85 to 90 percent of the Poblacion in Butig.

He added that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has also visited troops stationed in Lumbayanague, Lanao del Sur.

Meanwhile, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya expressed his elation that government troops have successfully retaken the old municipal hall of Butig.

“It was not without the cost of life and limb of the lawless terrorist Maute Group, and the sweat and blood of our soldiers. But it has to be so to ensure that our people will live peacefully knowing that their soldiers are there to protect them,” Visaya said.

Marine Col. Edgard A. Arevalo, the chief of the AFP’s Public Affairs Office said fighting has already stopped and soldiers are now conducting clearing operations, based on the information they gathered from Col. Roselier Murillo, commander of the 103rd Brigade.

“Let’s just say that our task to recover or retake the municipality is 80 percent complete because we haven’t fully cleared the area, there are still unexploded ordnance that we need to clear before we can say our mission is 100 percent complete,” Arevalo said. (Francis T. Wakefield)