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AFP still in pursuit of retreating Maute Group

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) revealed that the manhunt operations versus the Maute Group is now concentrated on the forested areas in Lanao Del Sur.

AFP Public Affairs Office chief Marine Col. Edgard A. Arevalo said that government forces have already made interactions with residents in the area to enlist their support or cooperation in reporting to them if they see any movements coming from the bandits.

“Well pursuit operations are still ongoing on those who are still hiding, at the forested areas. Secondly, we are waiting for approval on the recommendation to build a military installation or camp in Butig. We just know where the exact location will be,” Arevalo said.

Arevalo said although the center of Butig is already 100 percent full control of the AFP, they are still not allowing the entry of civilians due to the possible presence of unexploded ordnance.

“That’s the reason why we had to add K9 bomb sniffing dogs for us to find the unexploded ordnance more faster,” said Arevalo.

Upon the recommendation of Army 103rd Brigade command Col. Roseller Murillo, Arevalo said they are looking into the possibility of building a military camo or installation to prevent the Maute gunmen re-setting foot in Butig town.

The AFP earlier said a total of 61 Maute Group fighters were allegedly killed while 12 others were wounded since fighting broke out between them and government troops more than a week ago.

He added that 35 soldiers were hurt as a result of the clashes.

The group was allegedly behind the Davao City night market bombing last September 2, when 15 died and around 70 were hurt.