CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – A leader of the local terrorist group Dawlah Islamiya (DI) was killed while two others were captured during a law enforcement operation in Maguindanao, the military here reported Sunday.
Lt. Colonel Benjamin Cadiente, commanding officer of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB), identified a slain terrorist leader during the focused military operation on Saturday only through his alias as “Tong Bomber”, a bomb expert responsible for attacks against military convoys and installations in the province.
Members of the DI (Islamic State) in Maguindanao are remnants of the Maute terror group that carried out a siege in Marawi City in 2017.
“He was killed following the 7 a.m. encounter in Barangay Nabundas, Shariff Saydona Mustapha town,” Cadiente said in his report to Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander and head of Joint Task Force Central.
He added that the 33IB troopers were met with gunfire while approaching the location of the group, triggering a firefight.
“After the smoke cleared, Tong Bomber was seen lying dead with his rifle beside him,” Cadiente said.
Two other cohorts of the slain target, identified as Nondo Sangalan and Tong Sangalan, peacefully surrendered.
Seized from them were one M14 rifle, ammunition, and two improvised explosive devices, similar to those set off by members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), another local terror group, in civilian and military targets in Maguindanao.
Cadiente said a government trooper was slightly injured in the clash and is now confined at Camp Siongco Station Hospital.
The remains of the neutralized terrorist were immediately turned over to the barangay officials of Barangay Nabundas, while the captured suspects were placed under the custody of the Shariff Saydona Mustapha authorities for the proper filing of cases.
Uy, for his part, lauded residents in reporting the presence of the terrorists in their midst that prompted the 33IB to conduct the operation.
“Your actions have saved countless lives that could have been victims of these suspected terrorists,” Uy said.
For the past 12 months, more than 50 DI and BIFF terrorists have been neutralized in Maguindanao, while over 100 others have opted to peacefully surrender to live normal lives.