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54 Muslim rebels killed in southern Philippines, claims military

Regional military spokesman Maj Filemon Tan said the operations against the Maute group began last Thursday in southern Lanao del Sur province’s Butig town and were still continuing. He said nine soldiers had been wounded in addition to the two who died.

The military fired artillery and launched air strikes “to get the criminals” behind the beheading last month of two sawmill workers, Tan said. He said the workers were forced to wear orange robes while being beheaded, like victims of the Islamic State group. 

Four other sawmill workers were freed after their employers negotiated with the captors. Troops have not retrieved the militants’ bodies, but based the count on intelligence reports and on sightings of bodies being carried away by other militants, Tan added. 
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