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A band of Maranaos in Butig, Lanao del Sur, has been fighting against government troops and already lives are lost on both sides.

It was reported that the group is led by the Maute brothers some of whom have also been killed.

At the outset, it was speculated that the band was a local version of the ISIS in the Middle East when it reportedly kidnapped four Christian Sawmill Operators in Butig and beheaded two of their victims.

Apparently, however, the group may just be bandits or breakaway elements of revolutionary groups that are now collaborating with government to solve the Mindanao problem and achieve a sustainable peace.

It is difficult for government to discuss what might be problems that have motivated these people to look for trouble because they ran away when outfought in battle only to come back later and attack the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) when the opportunity appears.

This could be one of the concerns that require the attention of the incoming President of the Republic. Earlier, he had mentioned that there is only one armed force in the Philippines and that is the AFP.

Thus, he wants all the problems of these armed groups solved in order that they will lay down their arms and a lasting peace is achieved.

It seems that the motives of the Maute group are still unclear as of the moment. Do they have an ideology or they are just out to sow terror among the civilian population especially Christians which may be interpreted to be a copycat of the ISIS in the Middle East since there is no sign that they have connections with that foreign group except that they have ISIS flags in their camp?

Ironically, the battle scenes between the Maute band and the AFP are said to be just a few kilometers from the MILF’s Camp Busra.

In the furtherance of the peace process can the MILF perhaps do their investigation and help resolve the Maute disturbance? The New Ranao Star

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