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3 soldiers wounded in pursuit operations vs Maute group remnants

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THREE SOLDIERS were wounded in a clash with about 24 remnants of the local terror group Maute in Barangay Sumalindao, Sultan Dumalondong, Lanao del Sur on Thursday morning. Col. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., commander of 103rd Infantry Battalion, said in a message to reporters that only one casualty from the side of the Islamic State-allied group was so far confirmed. The military’s Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) described the encounter that started at 8:10 a.m. as a “fierce gun battle” as troops launched offensives to locate the camp of Maute leader Benito Owayda Marohombsar, also known as Abu Dar. The Maute group led the siege of Marawi City, located about 42 kilometers north of Datu Dumalondong, on May 23, 2017, and the gun battle with government forces lasted for five months, leaving the central part of the city in ruins. It also prompted the declaration of martial law in the entire Mindanao islands. Earlier this week, Mr. Brawner gave assurance to Marawi residents that the military maintains tight security measures within the city to prevent the Maute remnants from returning. “We are assuring the people here in Marawi City that we are doing everything to prevent the ISIS-Maute from entering the city again,” Mr. Brawner is quoted in a report posted on the government’s Bangon Marawi Website. He added that they are closely monitoring the movements of the group, which he said is down to a “few” members. — Vince Angelo C. Ferrera with a report from Tajallih S. Basman

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