Thursday Sep, 28 2023 11:37:53 AM

UPDATE: 3 die as Army launched focused offensives vs DI in Maguindanao

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 12:45 PM Thu Mar 23, 2023
Army photo

CARMEN, North Cotabato – Three suspected Dawlah Islamiya terrorists were killed and four others were injured during the military’s focus operation in the borders of Maguindanao del Sur and Cotabato province, the Army here said.

Brig. Gen. Donald Gumiran, commander of the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade, said government forces were running after the group of Almoben Sibud of the IS inspired terror group who has about 30 armed followers.

“Sibud is the leader of the group and believed to be behind bombings in our AOR,” Gumiran said.

The military is now using its recently acquired 155mm Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzers Systems (ATMOS).

Several bombing sorties were also launched Wednesday in the marshland boundary of two provinces.

“Our specially trained ground troops are in the area, hopefully circling our targets,” Gumiran added.

Undetermined number of civilians have fled to safer grounds in the towns of Pikit and Pagalungan and nearby areas.

They are now getting emergency aid from the Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao-Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (BARMM-READi), according to BARMM Interior Minister Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo.

Evacuees were monitored in Pagalungan and Datu Montawal in Maguindanao del Sur and villages in Pikit that are now part of BARMM Special Geographic Area.

“We have relief workers there, including those who fled due to Paeng and now due to government law enforcement operations against IS linked group in the marshland,” he said. 

Sinarimbo said he has alerted local officials near and around the area of operation to be on alert for possible retaliation and diversionary tactics to be employed by the lawless groups.

He theorized that the attack against two soldiers at a checkpoint in Mamasapano, Maguindanao del Sur was a diversionary tactic.  That incident left a soldier killed and a companion injured while a civilian was injured too.

“I feel that was diversionary attack to ease the pressure by military operations on their colleagues in the marsh,” he said.  “That is a pattern like in the past, so we remind our LGUs and LCEs tactics in Maguindanao Sur and del Norte to be on alert.”

Some residents in affected areas have observed that every time fasting month commence they need to evacuate due to military operation. 

They complained fleeing during this season is very difficult for them who observe fasting.

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