• Lanao clashes continue; MILF denies involvement

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    MARAWI CITY: An Army private was killed on Tuesday when his convoy came under attack in Wato-Balindong town, Lanao del Sur as it was on the way to reinforce troops pursuing an extremist group in another town.

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    Private First Class Emmanuel Buhilag of the 51st Infantry Battalion was the lone fatality in the ambush believed carried out by members of the Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM) against the two military trucks around 11 am. The gunmen fled after an hour’s exchange of gunfire with and mortar shelling from the soldiers.

    The military convoy was on the highway in Bubong Cadapaan village on the way to Madalum town to reinforce soldiers in Butig town, said Col. Roseller Murillo, commander of Marawi city-based 103rd Infantry Brigade.

    The ambush caused panic in surrounding communities and forced local authorities to close the Narciso Ramos Highway – the main road connecting Balindong town to Marawi City – for five hours. This was to save civilian travellers from getting caught in the crossfire.

    Authorities believed that Tuesday’s ambush was a “diversion tactic” by the KIM to prevent troops from reinforcing the unit already pursuing 300 of its members in Poktan village in Butig.

    The trouble in Butig erupted four days ago when the KIM – which earlier pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – attacked an Army detachment.

    Involvement denied
    In a related development, Abdullah Macapaar – more notorious as Commander Bravo of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – on Wednesday urged a joint ceasefire committee to investigate on the attacks.

    Macapaar denied any MILF involvement in the recent attacks in Bayabao District in Butig and Bubong-Kadapaan in Balindong where three soldiers were killed in combat and more wounded.

    He insisted that the MILF forces remained inside MILF camps as skirmishes in Butig went on.

    Intermittent clashes erupted until Monday, stopping only after troops from Army’s 103rdIB arrived and helped drive the extremists away with 105 Howitzer canons and aerial assaults by the Philippine Air Force fighter planes.

    Displaced
    About 7,800 civilians or 335 families from Butig fled to Marawi City as a result of the fighting.

    They were provided with relief and medical assistance, according to Lanao del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

    Assistance is also underway for 657 other evacuees that sought refuge in Masiu, Lanao del Sur.

    The office was also validating reports of thousands of families that supposedly ran for safety in the towns of Lumbatan, Lumbayanague and Poona-Bayabao.

    Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman has ordered an inquiry into the Butig and Balindong incidents to determine the extent of dislocation of local residents.

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    2 Comments

    1. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH..its about time..this MILF / BIFF / MNLF / WHOEVER are INSPIRED and SUPPORTED by rich islamic radicals or country..it must put to stop and bring law, order and discipline in the country..give them their own dose of medicine…by all out war to this shallow / backward / radicals perverted minds..

    2. The gunmen fled after an hour’s exchange of gunfire with and mortar shelling from the soldiers.
      —————-

      Any of the gunmen killed or captured ? Where did they go after being driven away ?
      Why doesn’t the army call in air strikes or reinforcements if they are engaged for a hour ? Why are the gunmen are allowed to retreat ?