Two straight days of air raids, artillery shelling and a ground assault on a terrorist stranglehold in Maguindanao, at the surroundings of Shariff Saydona Mustapha killed 20 fighters, including some high-value targets, stated Major General Cirilito Sobejana.
Sobejana could not yet determine whether Singapore Jihadist Muhamad Ali Abdul Rahiman AKA Mauwiyah and Salahudin Hassan, both leaders of the Daulah Islamiya, were among those slain.
Sobejana stated assaulting ground troops met stiff resistance but the terrorists were dazed by a bomb run that forced them to retreat. One soldier perished from enemy fire.
Two followers of the IS-linked Maute group and two soldiers were killed in a battle that lasted hours in Barangay Padas in Pagayawan in Lanao del Sur, Monday afternoon.
Col. Romeo Brawner, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, reiterated the two dead terrorists were Abu Jihad and Abu Tahir who were part of the 24-man contingent under Maute chieftain Abu Dar.
Malacañang stated on Tuesday it would take action to prevent ISIS from making the Philippines into a base for its operations.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo claimed the Palace remains “definitely concerned” about the terrorist group’s activities in the country, especially those involving establishing a foothold in Mindanao.
“Across the islands of the southern Philippines, the black flag of the Islamic State is flying over what the group considers as its East Asia province,” the New York Times’ article released on Saturday stated.
“Men in the jungle, two oceans away from the arid birthplace of the Islamic State, are taking the terrorist brand name into new battles,” the article added.
The report also pointed out the recent terrorist attacks that shook several parts of Mindanao in early 2019.
The report added that the IS has budded in the southernmost region of the country and took Mindanao as a “haven for insurgents because of dense wilderness and weak policing.” In this way, the Islamic State has attracted a range of militant jihadists.
“That’s just speculation,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza brushed off the report in response.
President Duterte declared an all-out war counter to the ASG, an ISIS-inspired militant group following the bombing of a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.