Maute group remnants target of airstrike in Lanao del Sur, says Army’s Brawner
Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Mar 03 2022 12:14 AM
Brawner vows Marawi siege won’t happen again
MANILA—The Philippine Army chief confirmed that the remnants of the extremist Maute group that laid siege to Marawi City in 2017 were the target of government troops’ operation in Lanao del Sur on Tuesday, March 1.
Troops from the 103rd Brigade, in coordination with the Philippine National Police, launched an airstrike against members of the Islamic State-inspired Daulah Islamiyah in Maguing town.
“’Yung na-encounter ng Philippine Army yesterday is the same group that we were running after when we were in Marawi,” Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner, Jr. told reporters at the Army Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Wednesday.
“These are the remnants of the Maute-ISIS. Unti-unti silang naubos at nanghina, but recently, they have been trying to recruit more members, more fighters."
Three suspected terrorists were killed in the operation, according to Brawner. On the government side, one soldier was killed while another two were injured.
“From the information we got from our informants and civilians—sila po ang nagbigay sa atin ng mga impormasyon about the location of this group, their capabilities. We were able to pinpoint their exact location and thus, we were able to encounter them,” Brawner noted.
Military fighter jets dropped a dozen bombs on the lair of the ISIS-inspired extremists in Barangay Ilaglag.
Brawner said the military had to conduct airstrikes since the extremists established defensive positions while placing landmines, making it more dangerous for ground troops to advance.
“’Yung mga kalaban, mahilig maglagay ng land mines. Pati nga sa main battle area noon, puro land mines, so noong unang araw ng Marawi siege, maraming soldiers ang naging casualties because of the land mines . . . In order to counter that, ang ginawa ng Armed Forces was they used airstrikes para ma-clear ‘yung ating area, kung meron mang mine field,” he explained.
The Army chief asked residents not to panic, saying the conflict is limited to one specific area in Maguing.
“Isang barangay lang and it is not actually very close to the population. Hindi malapit so hindi na kailangan mag-panic ng ating mga kababayan, especially those residing in Marawi City,” Brawner assured.
“We are not going to see another Marawi siege.”
The Marawi siege, which was masterminded by the brothers Abdullah and Omar Maute, and then Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, resulted in the deaths of at least 160 soldiers, more than 970 extremists and more than 80 civilians.
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