During a law enforcement operation in Maguindanao on Sunday, a leader of the local terrorist group Dawlah Islamiya (DI) was slain, while two others were apprehended, according to the military.
During the focused military operation on Saturday, Lt. Colonel Benjamin Cadiente, commanding officer of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB), identified a slain terrorist leader only by 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, which laid siege to 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 went on to say that the 33IB troops were met with gunfire as they approached the group’s location, resulting in a gunfight.
“After the smoke cleared, Tong Bomber was seen lying dead with his rifle beside him,” Cadiente said.
Nondo Sangalan and Tong Sangalan, two other cohorts of the slain target, peacefully surrendered.
One M14 rifle, ammunition, and two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were seized from them, which were similar to those used by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a local terror group, in civilian and military targets in Maguindanao.
A government trooper was slightly injured in the altercation, according to Cadiente, and is now being treated at Camp Siongco Station Hospital.
The remains of the neutralized terrorist were promptly handed over to Barangay Nabundas officials, while the apprehended suspects were handed over to the Shariff Saydona Mustapha authorities for proper case filing.
Residents who reported the presence of terrorists in their midst encouraged the 33IB to undertake the operation, according to Uy.
“Your actions have saved countless lives that could have been victims of these suspected terrorists,” Uy said.
Over 50 DI and BIFF terrorists have been killed in Maguindanao in the last year, while over 100 others have voluntarily surrendered to resume their lives.