9 terrorists, 8 MILFs die in clashes

9 terrorists, 8 MILFs die in clashes

COTABATO CITY — Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) killed nine Dawlah Islamiya terrorists and wounded six others in a series of encounters in a barangay along the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta over the weekend.

Eight members of the MILF, an erstwhile secessionist guerrilla front compelled to help the government address security issues in areas where it has forces by its peace pact with Malacañang, also died in the gunfights.

As a diversionary ploy, beleaguered Dawlah Islamiya members shot dead a brother of a barangay official in Dalgan in Pagalungan town in Maguindanao del Sur, a two-year-old child and three other villagers before they escaped using small river boats when they sensed that more MILF members were closing in.

Traditional Moro datus and local government executives in Pagalungan, among them Vice Mayor Abdillah A. Mamasabulod, on Monday confirmed to reporters and Bangsamoro regional police officials the skirmishes in Dalgan and nearby areas.

Major Gen. Alex S. Rillera, commander of Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said on Monday that they have received reports about the MILF’s having neutralized nine Dawlah Islamiya terrorists this weekend in maneuvers coordinated with the police and units of the 602nd Infantry Brigade covering Pagalungan and other towns around.

Two members of the terrorist group are suspected of carrying out the deadly bombing that killed four Catholic worshippers at a holy mass held at the gymnasium of the Mindanao State University in Marawi City last Dec. 3.

Mr. Mamasabulod, a senior member of the Pagalungan Municipal Peace and Order Council, said the MILF’s attacks on Dawlah Islamiya members were led by a member of the 80-seat Bangsamoro parliament, Akmad I. Abas, chief of the front’s Eastern Mindanao Group.

Mr. Abas and Mr. Mamasabulod, whose clan is supporting the police and military’s joint anti-terror campaign in their municipality, separately told reporters that eight MILF members were killed, and five others were wounded in the clashes in Dalgan.

“We were to check their locations that the 6th ID first bombarded with 105 Howitzer cannons but they attacked us so there were subsequent firefights in the barangays near the Liguasan Marsh,” Mr. Abas said.

The local police, in a report to the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and the Maguindanao del Sur Provincial Police Office, said there is difficulty in securing the complete names of the nine Dawlah Islamiya terrorists killed by MILF forces since their cadavers were carried away by companions as they escaped towards the center of the Liguasan Delta.

Mr. Rillera and Bangsamoro regional police director Brig. Gen. Allan C. Nobleza separately said they appreciate the support of Abas and his followers to the 6th ID and PRO-BAR’s joint effort to decimate via tactical maneuvers the Dawlah Islamiya forces holding out in Maguindanao del Sur towns along the Liguasan Delta. — John Felix M. Unson