Six soldiers wounded in Maute encounter

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 21) — Six soldiers were wounded after the military clashed with 10 members of terrorist group Maute in Lanao del Sur early Saturday, the military said.

Joint Task Force Ranao engaged in a 35-minute firefight with members of the terrorist group at Barangay Kalilangan, Masiu, a town an hour away from Marawi City.

The military said the terrorists tried to escape through Lake Lanao but failed after government forces sunk their boats.

The troops recovered a hand grenade and a grenade launcher, several pieces of ammunition, an ISIS flag, and several drug paraphernalia, among others, the military said.

"We shall continue to totally eliminate the remaining Daesh-inspired groups in Lanao provinces and to sustain our efforts to prevent them from establishing Wilayat (Islamic State) and spreading Daesh (ISIS) ideology in our joint area of operation," First Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo said.

The military said this is the first encounter since the liberation of Marawi from terrorists in October 2017 after a five-month crisis.

The whole Mindanao remains under martial law after President Rodrigo Duterte requested for the extension of military rule until the end of 2018.

The President cited attacks of the New People's Army and other local terrorist groups as reason for the extension, which the Congress approved in December.