FOUR Philippine soldiers were killed in an encounter with members of Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group in the southern province of Lanao del Norte on Sunday, the military said.

The Feb. 19 operation, which was aimed at neutralizing alleged perpetrators of a university bombing in December, also wounded four soldiers, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said in a statement on Monday. The wounded were being treated at a military hospital in Cagayan de Oro province, it said.

The military said two members of the extremist group were killed in the same operation.

It said 18 members of the Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group have already been killed in its recent operations, including the one who “masterminded” the blast at the Marawi State University in mid-December.

The bombing happened while a Catholic mass was being held in the university’s gymnasium, killing 11 people.

Marawi City is still recovering from a five-month war in 2017 between state forces and the Maute group. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza