Cops, soldiers guard Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur border from Dawlah retaliatory attacks

John Unson - Philstar.com
Cops, soldiers guard Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur border from Dawlah retaliatory attacks
Satellite image shows Munai in Lanao del Norte
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COTABATO CITY — State forces have tightened security at the border of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte provinces to prevent possible retaliations by the Dawlah Islamiya following the gunfights between its members and soldiers in Barangay Ramain, Munai town on Sunday.

Muslim religious leaders and local officials in Munai, Lanao del Norte and nearby towns in the province told reporters on Tuesday that seven Dawlah Islamiya terrorists died in the two-hour clash in a hinterland area in Barangay Ramain.

The incident also exacted six fatalities from the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion, Corporals Rey Anthony Salvador, Reland Tapinit and Rodel Mobida, Private 1st Class Arnel Tornito and Privates Michael John Lumingkit and James Porras, who died from bullet wounds in different parts of their bodies.

Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza, director of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, said on Tuesday that their units in Lanao del Sur have tightly guarded tthe towns in the province that are near Munai to prevent the Dawlah Islamiya from bringing in their companions wounded in an encounter with soldiers in Munai.

“We are not taking chances. We are guarding against possible retaliations by these terrorists. This group is known for attacking helpless people to avenge the deaths of companions in clashes with pursuing government forces,” Nobleza said. 

Munai, a component town of Lanao del Sur in Region 10, is close to a number of hinterland towns in Lanao del Sur in the Bangsamoro region that were scenes of deadly Dawlah Islamiya clashes in recent months.

Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, commander of the Philippine Army, told reporters via text message that they have indeed been receiving confidential information from local executives and religious leaders in Lanao del Norte that up to seven Dawlah Islamiya terrorists were killed by soldiers during the Munai clash, but could not confirm without actual enemy cadaver count.

Two Maranaw Islamic missionaries, Salic Macarimbang and Romino Mansur, traditional leaders in Munai and a president of the Association of Barangay Captains in one of the towns in Lanao del Norte, had confirmed to reporters that soldiers had shot dead seven Dawlah Islamiya members and wounded five others during Sunday’s skirmishes in Barangay Ramain. They were carried away by companions as they fled when they sensed that  Army reinforcements were closing in.

The sources said that two of the wounded Dawlah Islamiya members, Monid and Ariado, are cousins of Khadafi Mimbesa, the mastermind of the Dec. 3, 2023 bombing of Catholics while hearing mass at the Dimaporo Gymnasium inside the campus of the Mindanao State University in Marawi City, an attack that killed four worshipers and hurt more than 40 others.

Mimbesa was one of the nine Dawlah Islamiya terrorists killed by pursuing soldiers in an encounter last January 26 in Barangay Tapurog in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur.

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