Armed Forces of the Philippines

6 soldiers killed in operation vs group behind MSU Marawi blast

Bea Cupin

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6 soldiers killed in operation vs group behind MSU Marawi blast

AFTERMATH. Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. stands among law enforcement officers as they investigate the scene of an explosion during a Catholic Mass in a gymnasium at Mindanao State University in Marawi, Philippines, December 3, 2023.

Lanao Del Sur Provincial Government/Handout via Reuters

(1st UPDATE) The Philippine military says at least 18 suspected members of the Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group have been killed in military operations following the deadly MSU Marawi blast in December 2023

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) confirmed on Monday, February 19, that six soldiers were killed and four wounded during a weekend operation against a group believed to be behind a deadly December 2023 blast at the Mindanao State University (MSU) Marawi campus.

In a statement, AFP chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. said the military launched an operation in the town of Munai, Lanao del Norte on February 18 as a “continuation” of the military’s pursuit operations against members of the Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group (DI-MG).

The Army said at least three DI-MG group members were killed while several were injured.

Brawner said six soldiers “paid the ultimate sacrifice” while four were wounded and evacuated to Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.

In a separate statement, the Philippine Army said troops from the Scout Platoon of the 44th Infantry Battalion engaged in an operation at Munai in Lanao del Norte on February 18.

The same day, another group from the 7th Scout Ranger Company of the First Scout Ranger Regiment’s 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion encountered five alleged DI-MG members in a different area. A third group, from the 8th Scout Ranger Company of the same 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion, reinforced troops to bring casualties back home.

Army 103rd Brigade spokesperson Lt. Colonel Miondas said a 15-man team from the 44th Infantry Battalion was pursuing the militants when they figured in a clash with 15 members of the armed group in Barangay Ramain.

Miondas said the firefight was still ongoing as nearby army units were ordered to reinforce the soldiers while the wounded were brought to Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro for treatment.

“I extend my sincerest condolences to the families of our slain soldiers and offer the AFP’s support in this very trying time. I will also make sure that our wounded soldiers receive the best treatment possible for their injuries,” said Brawner.

The AFP chief said that since the December 2023 blast, at least 18 members of the DI-MG, including the supposed mastermind, have been killed in military operations.

“Our troops are motivated to finish the job and accomplish our mission of defeating local terrorist groups once and for all,” he said. – with reports from Froilan Gallardo/

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.