From Malaya Business Insight (Aug 23): Maute supporters stage attack in Lanao del Sur
ALLEGED sympathizers of the Maute Group yesterday attacked a military detachment in Marantao town in Lanao del Sur, about three kilometers from the main area in Marawi City, where soldiers have been battling the terrorists for three months now.
One of the sympathizers was killed while four soldiers were wounded.
The attack is seen as a “diversionary tactic, to divert military attention from the main battle area,” said Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of the military Joint Task Force Ranao based in Marawi City.
Brawner said the group was also possibly aiming to disrupt the opening of classes at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City. He said classes opened despite the incident.
Brawner said about 20 Maute supporters attacked the detachment at around 5:20 a.m., triggering a one-hour firefight.
The detachment, manned by soldiers and policemen, also serves as a checkpoint.
During clearing operations, troops recovered the body of a still unidentified Maute supporter, a rocket propelled-grenade, molotov bombs, assorted ammunition, and P30,000 cash.
Asked if the group will reinforce the Maute remnants in the main battle area in Marawi, Brawner said: “If they are on the way to the main battle area, they are going to avoid the detachment and enter (the main battle area). But it’s not… this is just a harassment (incident),” he said.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP public affairs chief, said the conflict which started on May 23 has left 585 Maute members dead, 129 soldiers and policemen, and 45 civilians.
Around 50 Maute members remain in Marawi.