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'Main objective' in Lanao Del Sur pursuit operation cleared

MANILA, Feb. 29 (PNA) --- Western Mindanao Command (WMC) units have finally cleared the "main objective" in its week-long operations against a local terrorist organization in Butig town, Lanao Del Sur Sunday.

This was disclosed by Major Filemon Tan, WMC spokesperson, in a message Monday.

"Troops conducted clearing operations at their designated sectors and moved forward for the final assault on the main objective which was cleared on around 4:20 p.m.," he added.

Recovered from the area were an 81 mm mortar round rigged as an improvised explosive device (IED) and two grenade booby traps.

"Troops continue to scour the barangay area and clear it from booby traps and IEDs," Tan disclosed.

Last Feb. 23, Tan also reported the death of Omar Maute, the head of the local terrorist organization, who spearheaded the attack on the detachment of the 51st Infantry Battalion in Butig, Lanao Del Sur last Feb. 20.

An estimated 40 to 80 lawless elements took part in the raid which lasted until early Feb. 21, along with Omar's younger brother.

Tan based this claim on intelligence reports which claimed that the bandit leader was killed in the constant air and artillery strikes against them.

In addition, the reports said 24 out of the 42 other terrorists killed in the operation have been identified.

The Mautes are believed to be allied to elements of the Jemaah Islamiyah and have connections to a foreign terrorist who was neutralized in 2012. (PNA)

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