Credit to Author: The Manila Times| Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2019 10:22:48 +0000
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur: A member of the Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute group was killed while another was critically wounded, as government security forces clashed with the terrorists led by Owayda Benito Marohombsar alias Abu Dar on Thursday in Lanao del Sur.
Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., commander of the Philippine Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, said the operations to seize the terror base in Barangay Sumalindao in Sultan Dumalondong began on Wednesday at 6 p.m. but by 8:10 a.m. on Thursday escalated into a gun battle that also resulted in the wounding of three soldiers – two from the 55th Infantry Battalion (IB)and one from the 82nd IB.
Brawner assured residents “not to panic and not to evacuate because we have everything under control.”
The Philippine Air Force deployed its assets in support of the operations on the ground.
“The enemies have snipers, so we are being careful. The aircraft also had a hard time flying in the air because of the weather, but we will try it later on,” Brawner said.
Maj. Gen. Roeller Murillo, 1st Infantry Division, said, “The armed encounter was the result of our relentless campaign against Maute ISIS remnants and [the] Abu Dar group.”
He said that the “best medical facilities and treatment would be provided to our wounded troops.”
Abu Dar, who has a P6 million bounty on his head, has been reported as the successor of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon who was named the “emir” of the IS in Southeast Asia.
Hapilon, along with leaders of the Maute group, was killed during the five-month siege in Marawi City in 2017 when the terrorists sought to establish an independent state.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao to quell the rebellion that ended in October of 2017 with the defeat of the terrorists by government forces.
With the approval of Congress, martial rule has been extended twice, with the second term to end in December of 2019. MASIDING NOOR YAHYA, DEMPSEY REYES
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