Friday Apr, 12 2024 08:38:50 PM

6 soldiers dead in clash with Dawlah men in Lanao del Norte

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 23:45 PM Mon Feb 19, 2024
John M. Unson

COTABATO CITY - Six members of the Army’s 44th Infantry Battalion and eight Dawlah Islamiya terrorists perished in heavy gunfights on Sunday in Barangay Ramain in Munai town in Lanao del Norte.

Four soldiers were wounded in the encounters, according to separate reports from the Lanao del Norte Provincial Police Office and the Army’s 1st Infantry Division based in Barangay Pulacan in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.

Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, commander of the Philippine Army, told reporters here via text message on Monday that the encounter erupted when soldiers were attacked while on their way to an interior area in Barangay Ramain to check on complaints by Muslim villagers about the presence of Dawlah Islamiya gunmen collecting food and money from them at gunpoint.

Muslim residents in Barangay Ramain, among them members of the local Islamic religious community, have actively been helping Army and police units locate Dawlah Islamiya terrorists in secluded barangays in Munai.

Traditional Maranaw community leaders in Munai had told reporters that eight dead Dawlah Islamiya members, six of them initially identified as Karim, Modih, Arip, Mansur, Saripada and Marham, were carried away by companions as they fled when they sensed that Army reinforcements were closing in. 

Nine members of the Dawlah Islamiya were killed in clashes in late January with soldiers in Barangay Tapurog in Piagapo town in Lanao del Sur, a province also under the jurisdiction of the 1st ID. 

One of the nine Dawlah Islamiya fatalities then is Khadafi Membisa, the mastermind of the deadly December 3 bombing of Catholic worshipers inside a gymnasium in the campus of the Mindanao State University in Marawi City.

Four Catholics were killed in the bombing that also hurt more than 40 others.

The Dawlah Islamiya, operating in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has a reputation for fomenting hatred for non-Muslims and for bombing buses and commercial establishments to intimidate and force owners to shell out "protection money."

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