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Guns silent in Lanao conflict affected town, terrorists' enclave falls

COTABATO CITY, May 31 -- Guns and cannons have been silent in the conflict-affected town of Butig in Lanao del Sur as of noon time Monday but government forces are preparing for possible resumption of hostilities.

The military also announced it captured an enclave of a terrorist group which pledged allegiance to the international terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

"They have fled deep into the forest, they abandoned an enclave in the village of Ragayan (Butig town)," according to Colonel Rosselier Murillo, commander of 103rd Infantry Brigade.

Murillo said members of the Maute group have abandoned their positions after a series of encounters with pursuing mightier government troops backed by air assets and artillery.

“Our troops are now stationed in areas the terrorists abandoned,” Murillo said. "ISIS items and flags were found there."

However, Murillo said the civilians who fled communities nearby are advised not to return to their homes yet as the terrorists may recapture its fallen camps.

The provincial social welfare office reported about 2,000 evacuees in relief sites in the villages of Coloyan, Samer, Bayabao, Raya Timbab, Sandab and Ragayan.

Military officials said extremist Abdullah Maute, the gang leader, was also tagged in the bombings of several transmission towers of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

Clearing operations continue to check on the possibility the terrorists left booby traps in its former enclave.

Murillo said at least 54 gang members were killed and scores were wounded, citing reports from villagers and communications set of the terrorists monitored by the military.

Government forces have been hunting the group of Maute after it beheaded two innocent civilians in February. The operation against them was stalled by the Army's election duties. (PNA)
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