From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1): Butig town cleared of Maute Group terrorists, says AFP
The besieged town of Butig in Lanao del Sur province has been cleared of terrorists from the Maute Group, says Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.
"Based on the report of the 103rd Infantry Brigade, (Butig town) has been 100 percent cleared of the (Maute Group) and that clearing and fixing of the damaged inflicted on the municipality is now ongoing before allowing the return of residents who evacuated," Padilla said in Filipino. The 103rd Infantry Brigade is the lead military unit in the almost six-day dislodgement operations against the bandit group.
Prior to this, the town will be turned over to the local government unit, he added.
Death toll for the almost six-day fighting has been placed at 61 for the Maute Group and 35 wounded for government troops.
Padilla said they are still verifying whether the terrorist group have sustained additional casualties during Wednesday night's operation.
Earlier, government forces have recaptured the old Butig municipal hall Wednesday (Nov. 30) following the withdrawal of Maute Group bandits holed up there in wake of the AFP's overwhelming superiority.
The offensive against the terrorists started last Nov. 26 when the bandits, fearful of ongoing operations against them, decided to hole up in Butig.
The abandoned Butig municipal hall is the same one the terrorists tried to capture last February only to be foiled by government troops.
As this develop, the AFP spokesperson vehemently denied reports claiming that the roadway bombing incident in Marawi City which wounded nine troopers, including seven members of the Presidential Security Group advance party last Nov. 29, was staged.
Padilla added that it is "against the principle of every soldier to wound or hurt a fellow comrade-in-arms."
He added the AFP remains apolitical and committed to upholding its mandate of protecting the country and people against all form of threats.