Thousands flee Lanao del Sur after clashes with Maute Group terrorists

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Thousands Flee Lanao del Sur After Crime Gang Caused 24 Deaths, Soldiers in Hot Pursuit – www.philippineslifestyle.com

A large armed group and the Philippine military have caused fighting between the two forces, creating a large exodus in the region of Butig, on the edge of Lake Lanao.

Officials have said that at least 1,200 people have been displaced due to the fighting – so far at least 24 people are dead.

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Government forces launched a massive operation against the local group who are known to kidnap people for money.

The fighting quickly escalated, officially affecting the regions of Poktan, Bayabao, Ragayan, Sandab, Samar and Coloyan. Also fearing for the lives, residents of Masui and Lumbayanague and Marawai City evacuated their homes.

Officials for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao said those who evacuated their homes immediately sought shelter with family, relatives or regions which had some form of shelter.

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The regional government is said to be mobilizing regional respondents to help document those displaced by the fighting.

As of Monday, the military has claimed that two of their soldiers were killed in crossfire, while 22 rebels from the known group were killed in a series of clashes.

The military has also noted that at least nine soldiers were wounded in the gunfire that started last Thursday.

Military officials told reports that the group in question is known as the Maute Group, and are said to be involved in the beheading of two kidnapping victims in April.

A spokesperson for the military said that they are in hot pursuit of the armed group throughout the area.

Mindanao has been a hotbed of fighting this week after the NPA attacked the police station in Governor Generoso, not far from Tagum and Mati City where many expats live.

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