MANILA—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday confirmed the identities of the 24 out of the 42 members of a local terrorist organization killed in the ongoing military operation in Lanao Del Sur.
Of the 24 confirmed killed in the fighting, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said they have recovered 10 to 12 bodies.
He added names of the slain bandits were provided by civilian authorities in Butig town.
Padilla said the number of identified dead could still raise as validation efforts are still ongoing.
Clearing operations are also ongoing with intermittent shots being exchanged between the military and the bandit group.
Padilla declined to give an exact timetable on when the clearing operation will end but said that normalization is their prime objective.
The military was forced to conduct an offensive against the bandit group led by Omar Maute and his younger brother after the terrorists tried to overrun a detachment of the 51st Infantry Battalion in Butig last Feb. 20.
An estimated 40 to 80 lawless elements took part in the raid which lasted until early Feb. 21.
In the ensuing government air and artillery strikes, Omar was reported killed along with 41 other bandits.
The Mautes are believed to be allied to elements of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and have connections to a foreign terrorist neutralized in 2012.