By Francis Wakefield
The manhunt on members of the Maute group who earlier occupied the center of Butig, Lanao del Sur continues, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.
Marine Col. Edgard A. Arevalo, AFP public affairs head, said that troops are currently concentrated on the forested areas where the Maute group believed to have escaped after they were driven away.
To prevent the Maute gunmen from returning back and causing havoc in Butig, Arevalo also said a study is currently being made to build a military installation or military camp in the area.
Arevalo also said that government forces has already talked with residents to enlist their support or cooperation in reporting to them if they see any movements coming from Maute members.
Arevalo said the recommendation to build a military installation came from Army 103rd Brigade command Col. Roseller Murillo.
Although the center of Butig is already 100-percent fully under AFP control, civilians are still not allowed to return.
“We hope they would understand that, understand that in regard because we are still continuing to clear all the unexploded ordnance including booby traps and landmines, IEDs which they might have left in the area,” Arevalo said. “That’s the reason why we had to add K9 bomb sniffing dogs for us to find the unexploded ordnance more faster.”
The AFP earlier said a total of 61 Maute group fighters were killed while 12 others were wounded since fighting broke out between them and government troops more than a week ago.
From the government side, 35 soldiers were hurt in the clashes.