The encounter was the Army’s first major engagement since the liberation of Marawi City last year.  File

6 troopers wounded in Lanao encounter
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - January 22, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Six Army troopers were wounded in an encounter with suspected Maute terrorists in Masiu, Lanao del Sur on Saturday.

The encounter was the Army’s first major engagement since the liberation of Marawi City last year.

At least 10 terrorists tried to escape in separate boats that the troopers sank in a lake at the height of the clash, according to Maj. Ronaldo Suscano, spokesman for the Army’s 1st Infantry Division.

Suscano could not say whether the terrorists were all neutralized or if the troopers recovered any dead Maute.

He said the troopers were verifying reports about the presence of armed men in Barangay Kalilangan when the encounter broke out.

“The firefight lasted 30 minutes until the Mautes retreated toward the lake,” Suscano said.

Soldiers recovered a grenade launcher, two rocket-propelled grenades, a telescope and an Islamic State flag as well as drug paraphernalia from the scene of the encounter.

The clash bolstered earlier reports that local and foreign terrorists are operating in Mindanao.

Sources said the number of foreign terrorists in the country could be more than 100 and not 50 based on the estimates of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.     

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