Phillippine military guns down 54 militants in intense firing..
Manila: As many as 54 militants and two soldiers were killed in an intense fighting between Philippine troops and a Muslim group inspired by Islamic state, on Monday.
The counts are based on intelligence reports and on sightings of bodies being carried away by other militants, as the troops have not retrieved the militants' bodies yet.
What Military officials said:
- Regional military spokesman Major Filemon Tan stated that the operations against the Maute group began last Thursday in Butig town and were still continuing.
- He also said that nine soldiers had been wounded in addition to the two who were killed.
- The military fired artillery and launched air strikes “to get the criminals” behind the beheading last month of two sawmill workers, He said.
- “Workers were forced to wear orange robes while being beheaded, like victims of the Islamic State group. Four other sawmill workers were freed after their employers negotiated with the captors,” stated the military spokesman.
- Military authorities also told the media that the group has used black clothing with the symbol of the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, but there is no evidence of any direct, active collaboration.