More than 24,000 people fled their homes as the Philippine military used airstrikes and artillery against Muslim extremists who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, authorities said Thursday.
Almost a week of attacks on members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the strife-torn southern island of Mindanao has displaced residents of six towns, said Jofelle Delicana, spokeswoman for the civil defence office.
About 24,300 villagers were forced to take refuge in schools, makeshift tents or with relatives after the military launched their assault on May 5, she told AFP.
Local army spokesman Captain Arvin Encinas said that reports from civilians and intelligence sources indicate that as many as 31 BIFF guerrillas have been killed including the group's leader, Commander Ismael Abubakar, also known as "Bungos", as well as two of his aides.
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