MANILA, Philippines – Twelve alleged members of a pro-ISIS terrorist group were killed and 3 more wounded in a gun battle with government troops in Maguindanao province on Saturday, July 27, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Troops from Joint Task Force (JTF) Central of the AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) launched an offensive against the Dawlah Islamiyah Torayfie Group (DITG) on July 25, following intelligence reports that the group was planning bomb attacks in populous and urban areas.
AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said government forces overran an encampment where the group was making improvised explosive devices (IED).
The operation led to the 10-minute armed confrontation in Barangay Dasawao, Shariff Saydona Mustapha town on Saturday.
The AFP identified the suspects killed as Mohammad Satar, Hamid Ekal, Maula Samad, Esmail Kagui Malang, Muner Akbal, Masunep Kabelan, Abdul Masaiden, Abu Naip, Abu Kasan, a certain “Alimudin,” an unidentified man, and the group’s sub-leader Andot Hassan.
Abdul Mama, Pagayao Sulaiman, and Omar Malayog, also from the DITG, were injured in the clash, according to a report from the AFP Westmincom.
A government soldier was killed in an earlier clash on July 25, identified as Sergeant Ahmad Mahmood.
The AFP cited human intelligence sources for information on the casualties; there was no direct body count from the battle.
Last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana downplayed reports of “nearly 100 foreign terrorists” at large in central Mindanao, but confirmed another report about 7 other “foreign terrorists” suspected to be linked with the Islamic State (ISIS), operating in the Sulu area.
Lorenzana and the military said foreign terrorists are likely training Filipino extremists in making bombs and launching attacks, including suicide attacks.
The DITG is a faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which in turn is a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that is now poised to govern the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The DITG is known to have links with ISIS. – Rappler.com