By Sita N. Asequia

Iligan City — Two casualties of the military in its drive versus Lanao armed groups are still at a funeral home in this city.

The fatalities, identified as Levie Cordova 31 years old and Alden Pia, both of Pikit, North Cotabato, were brought to the Capin Funeral Homes in Tubod this city, dawn of Tuesday, May 31 after they were slain in Butig, Lanao del Sur around 6 in the evening of Monday, May 30.

Gina, an employee of the said funeral home told The New Ranao Star over the phone yesterday that the relatives of the said military casualties have already arrived.

Per reports, military field commanders have been ordered to pursue operations against members of an emerging terror group without let-up despite the dislocation of hundreds of villagers, and finish their mission possibly before the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan next week.

Maj. Gen. Gerardo Barrientos, Jr. Commanding General of the Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division which has jurisdiction over the poor municipality, told reporters that the situation was still fluid and that the military operations against the Maute group could still drag for days from Tuesday

At least 54 members of the group were killed in the fighting that began on Thursday, military officials said on Monday, citing intelligence reports.

Only 37 deaths have been confirmed, Barrientos said, adding that the military had their names.

Two soldiers were killed and nine were wounded.

Barrientos said his unit was bent on wiping out the terrorists, adding that their continued existence “has vital impact to the overall security in Mindanao”.

The Maute group has reportedly pledged allegiance to the Daesh or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and is purportedly part of the Khalifah Islamiya Movement (KIM).

In March Abdullah Macapaar, a.k.a. Kumander Bravo, the local Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commander, described the group as “ISIS -inspired” and blamed its members for kidnapping and other atrocities in Lanao del Sur province.

Macapaar said MILF forces in Lanao had nothing to do with the violence perpetrated by the Maute group. The New Ranao Star

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