Philippine National Police

5 killed in clashes with Maute Group in Lanao Del Sur

Ferdinandh Cabrera

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5 killed in clashes with Maute Group in Lanao Del Sur
Four suspected terrorists and one military personnel died in 2 skirmishes Wednesday night in Lanao del Sur

COTABATO, Philippines – Four alleged members of Dawlah Islamiyah (DI-Maute) ISIS terror group were killed and one military personnel died in a pair of fierce encounters Wednesday night, May 31, in an interior village of Marogong town, Lanao del Sur province.

Brigadier General Allan Nobleza, regional director of Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO-BAR) said that troops of scout rangers conducted focused military operation (FMO) after receiving information that several members of the DI-Maute terror group were hiding in a secluded location in Brgy. Piangolongan of the said town on Wednesday night.

“We have our Scene of the Crime Operatives now in the area conducting further investigation, we have information received that there were also civilians rescued”, Nobleza said.

Nobleza said that the location of the encounter was around four to five kilometers away from the downtown area where some residents who fled last week had just started to return home.

Information gathered showed that at past 7 pm Wednesday the Joint Task Force Group (JTG)-Haribon, led by a certain First Lieutenant Manuel with his combat group from the scout ranger company, engaged a close combat firefight with DI-Maute members. After the smoke had gone, one body from the DI-Maute was recovered, a government soldier was killed identified as Private First Class Jemric Pol Cotingjo and three others were wounded.

Not far from the first encounter, before 9 pm of the same night, troops led by a Captain Legada were in a blocking position southern part of the clash site in the same barangay when they encountered the same terror group under the leadership of Abu Zacharia. This exchange lasted for five minutes, then the terror group withdrew after it was overpowered by the government troops.

A total of four fatalities from the DI-Maute were recovered from the encounter sites.

The troops also reported rescuing two minors and a woman.

High-powered firearms like an AR-15 bushmaster, M16-riffles and R4 including ammunitions, IED components, grenades, radio communication equipment and other war materials were recovered in the clash site.

“Based on our information the group of Zacaria has splintered into four small groups which they managed to change location anytime in the jungle areas,” Nobleza added.

Military and police forces are in high alert in the area.

Earlier last week the leader of the terror group warned of attacking Marogong town after four of their young comrades were reported arrested by elements of Moro Islamic Liberation Front and were turned-over to military troops.

Around four thousand residents had evacuated due to fear of the attack. –

Ferdinandh Cabrera is an Aries Rufo Journalism Fellow. 

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