A MILITARY official on Wednesday said the beheading of an Army corporal was among the main reasons why the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) used its “military might” against the jihadists group Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM) based in Butig town, in Lanao del Sur.
“It all started when the group of KIM leaders, the Maute brothers, attacked but failed to capture on February 20 a detachment. There was a counter-action and that resulted in a week-long operation and we won,” said Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, when asked if the beheading of the soldier was among the reasons why the military conducted intensified operations.
He admitted that there was a “deliberate and forceful application of miltiary power” to immediately end atrocities of the extremist group.
“And we will not hesitate to apply the full power and full force of the military and the government if there are still elements that will disturb the peace of a community and destroy the nation,” Padilla told reporters in a chance interview at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
The Philippine Army captured over the weekend the main camp of the jihadists group even as government forces continued clearing operations in preparation for the return to their homes of those displaced by the firefight.
The camp is located in Poktan, an adjacent village of Bubong (Poblacion), where Matute group was earlier overrun by troops during their week-long operations.
Several weapons and equipment were recovered including an M-16 rifle, a recoiled propelled grenade launcher, a 50 cal. locally made Barrett sniper’s rifle and several explosives.
The bodies of an unidentified man, with a handy metal scrap embedded with Arabic script of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and another man wearing a uniform of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), were also found by the Army.
The military assured the evacuees that security forces are expediting the clearing operations so that they can soon go back to their homes.