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Two more Maute stragglers killed as clearing ops continue in Marawi

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A day after they captured an Indonesian terrorist, government forces killed two more Daesh-linked stragglers in military clearing operations in the war-ravaged Marawi City on Thursday.

According to Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., deputy commander of Joint Task Force Ranao, one of the slain Maute terrorists was the right-hand man of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was killed late last month along with Omar Maute.

Brawner said the encounter whick took place inside the main battle area in Marawi City also left two pursuing soldiers injured.

He identified one of the slain Maute stragglers as Abu Talja, believed to be the right-hand of Hapilon, the slain designated emir of the Daesh terror group in Southeast Asis and the Philippines.

"We were able to recover the bodies of the two terrorists which are now being processed by the Philippine National Police-Scene of the Crime Operatives," Brawner added.

The latest clash in Marawi occurred after community peacekeepers captured an Indonesian national linked to the Daesh terror group while trying to escape in Marawi City.

The suspect identified as 22-year-old Muhammad Ilham Syahputra, of Medam, North Sumatra, Indonesia, was intercepted and arrested by members of Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT), who then turned him over to the police and military.

The arrested Indonesian militant admitted to police probers that his group was involved in a suicide bomb attack in Jakarta in 2016 that left 8 people dead. The attack was claimed by the Daesh international terror group, police said.

Syahputra also told police investigators that he arrived in the Philippines in November 2016 upon the invitation of the slain Hapilon.

The province of Lanao del Sur's Crisis Management Committee spokesperson, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong, commended the arrest of the Indonesian national.

The military is verifying the claim of Syahputra that 39 Maute stragglers are still in the main battle area in the war-ravaged Marawi City.

Authorities said the suspect was with the Maute during its training in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur, where the terror group recruited child warriors and other fighters.

Recovered from Syahputra were a firearm, fragmentation grenade, money of different currency , pieces of jewelry, cellphone, and a passport.

Marawi had been under siege by the Maute terrorists backed Hapilon-led Abu Sayyaf group that fled from Basilan to Central Mindanao. Exactly five months after the conflict, the city was liberated by the government. Hader Glang




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