By Roy Ramos
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines
Philippine military Thursday said they have killed at least 31 members of a Daesh-linked militant group in clashes that lasted for six days in a southern province.
"Members of the community reported to have seen the casualties," GMA News quoted Capt. Arvin John Encinas, spokesman of the Army's 6th Infantry Division.
He, however, admitted that the military was not able to recover the bodies of the slain militants, who belonged to Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Encinas said the BIFF members are known to retrieve their dead so they can be buried within 24 hours.
He said the operations -- backed by air, artillery and armor assets -- against the BIFF were launched last Saturday in Maguindanao province that resulted in sporadic clashes.
The spokesman said six Indonesian bomb experts are believed to be with the group.
The six-day long fighting left as many as 4,867 families or over 24,000 persons displaced, Myrna Jo Henry, information officer of a relief agency, told Anadolu Agency.
The BIFF, which is composed of around 300 militants, is a splinter group of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
It separated from MILF after the latter signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government in 2014. MILF was the largest Muslim rebel organization when it entered into a peace deal with the government.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.