MILF, Maute group clash in Lanao-Maguindanao border

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COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/09 December) — Fighters belonging to the National Guard of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) based in Barira town in Maguindanao clashed with members of the Maute group who attempted to enter the province to escape ongoing military operations in Lanao del Sur, an Army official said Friday.

The Maute group occupied Butig town in Lanao del Sur early this month, triggering a military offensive that forced several residents to flee. Butig lies adjacent to Barira

Major General Carlito Galvez, 6th Infantry Division commander confirmed the clash.

“Yes there was an encounter between Maute and the MILF after the former’s withdrawal from Butig town military offensive,” Galvez said.

Major Carlos Sol, head of the government’s Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities (GPH-CCCH) said their counterparts from the MILF-CCCH informed him that one MILF rebel was wounded in the clash.

He said medics and an ambulance were trying to get the wounded rebel to the nearest hospital.

37th IB troops were waiting for advise from the MILF on where to fetch the wounded rebel and possibly airlift him using a military helicopter.

Von Al Haq, MILF vice chair for military affairs said reports were still sketchy but confirmed that dozens of their men headed by Commander Gidada encountered the Maute group at around 7:30am Friday.

The clash took place in the thickly forested area of Sultan Base in Barira, site of the MILF general headquarters.

Galvez added that Army ground commanders were instructed to coordinate and assist the MILF and prevent the Maute group from penetrating Maguindanao or neutralize them.

The government and the MILF, which are yet to conclude the peace process, have a ceasefire agreement, as well as an agreement to work together in the interdiction of suspected criminals and terror groups. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)

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