Wednesday Aug, 05 2020 12:58:38 AM

Cops kill 4 Dawlah men in shootout

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 12:15 PM Thu Jul 2, 2020
John M. Unson

COTABATO CITY --- A police team killed Wednesday in a brief shootout in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao four Dawlah Islamiya members out on a bombing mission.

Personnel of the Maguindanao provincial police were forced to neutralize the four bandits riding together a Suzuki pick-up type multicab when they refused to have their vehicle inspected for firearms and explosives while in Barangay Timbangan in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.

The fatalities, Rahib Lumenda Esmail, Prati Kuludan, Arsad Ukom Utto and Alifmer Talimbu, belonged to a Dawlah Islamiya faction led by Imam Karialan, who is wanted for deadly bombings in central Mindanao in the past five years.

They died from multiple bullet wounds sustained in a shootout with policemen led by Major Erwin Tabora of the Maguindanao provincial police office.

In an initial statement Thursday, the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Mindanao said the gunfight erupted when the four men resisted and pulled out guns from underneath the seats of their Suzuki multicab bearing license plates MAK 9062.

The police team that blocked their route, in a supposedly peaceful operation that turned awry, found in the vehicle firearms and materials for improvised explosive devices.

Key Army and police intelligence sources told reporters Thursday the slain Dawlah Islamiya men were to proceed somewhere south of central Mindanao for a bombing mission.

The Dawlah Islamiya, also known as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters that uses the flag of the Islamic State as banner, has a reputation for bombing business establishments that refuse to shell out “protection money” and public places to avenge deaths of members in encounters with pursuing military Units.

Mayor Marop Ampatuan, chairperson of the Shariff Aguak municipal peace and order council, said Thursday the incident in Barangay Timbangan was isolated.

He said the incident was a consequence of a police law-enforcement activity.

Ampatuan said Shariff Aguak has no known enclave of the Dawlah Islamiya but is near bastions of the group in lowlands in nearby towns. 

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