Government takes over Maute group lair

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ZAMBOANGA CITY – Government troops backed by air assault and artillery fires have captured a lair of the Dawlah Islamiya (DI), formerly known as the Maute Group, in a remote village of Lanao del Sur, military officials said Monday.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the troops from the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion were on combat operation when they clashed with around 15 DI terrorists shortly after 10 o’clock in the morning of Saturday in Barangay Bawang, Madamba, Lanao del Sur.

Vinluan said the troops pounded the lair with air assault and artillery fires that forced the DI terrorists, who were positioned in foxholes, to scamper to different directions.

“We deployed air and artillery troops to conduct assault forcing the enemies to abandon their position,” said Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, Joint Task Force ZamPeLan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao provinces) commander.

“Our troops were able to penetrate the enemy’s defensive line through timely and accurate supporting fires,” Ponio added.

He said the captured lair of the DI terrorists has 20 foxholes and eight makeshift huts that can accommodate around 70 people.

He said that no one from the government side was hurt during the encounter while the number of casualties from the enemy side is yet to be ascertained. – Nikolai Gonzalo

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