The Philippine army has captured a militant training camp linked to the Daesh terrorist group following a 10-day battle as part of an offensive to flush out militants from a remote jungle region.
The operation against the Maute militant group, which has pledged allegiance to the notorious Daesh terror network, left four Philippine soldiers dead and 15 others injured in the town of Butig in Lanao del Sur Province, said a Philippine military commander on Saturday.
According to reports, the army further said they killed dozens of militants during the process; however, no dead bodies were seen when the Philippine military allowed journalists into the area on Friday.
“The Maute group is believed to be on the run and in hiding, (but) the military will fully enforce the law if they initiate other terrorist activities in the area,” said army Colonel Roseller Murillo as quoted in the report.
The camp’s structures were riddled with large bullet holes that, according to soldiers, were caused by machine gun fire used to flush out the militants.
Unexploded improvised explosive devices, a grenade launcher, a militant uniform and a black Daesh flag were left behind in the wooden huts and concrete-reinforced trenches used by the armed militants, Murillo added.
The officials said the latest offensive began on May 24 and displaced nearly 2,000 residents in the area.
The southern Philippines has been plagued by a separatist insurgency for more than four decades, resulting in skirmishes that has so far left over 120,000 dead.