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AFP launches air strikes in Maguindanao

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 12:45 PM Mon May 23, 2022
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By: 
FERDINANDH CABRERA
Civilians prepare to flee as air and ground assaults were launched Monday. (Photo courtesy of Padi/FC)

COTABATO CITY – The Armed Forces of the Philippines today launched air strikes and artillery attacks against Dawlah Islamiya (DI) terrorist group sighted by civilians and military forces in Maguindanao.

Brig. Gen. Eduardo Gubat, acting 6th Infantry Division commander, confirmed the air strikes in the marshland of Datu Salibo, Maguindanao, saying the group of DI Abu Torayfe, believed to be the DI “emir” in Mindanao, was seen massing in the area.

Air and ground assaults commenced at about 7 a.m. Monday. Gubat, who assumed as acting 6th ID commander, said he felt the terrorist group gathered in Datu Salibo “to welcome me.”

“The target of our surgical operation is a local terrorist group, led by Abu Torayfe, they are sighted in Datu Salibo, our ground troops are there as we speak,” Gubat said in a phone interview.

Residents of Datu Salibo said they heard loud explosions from helicopter gunships and artillery attacks. Two FA-50 bomber planes and two MG-520 attack helicopters conducted bombing sorties. 

An Army officer said foot soldiers have penetrated the area where the DI was sighted. President Duterte has standing orders for the military to fully neutralize the Dawlah Islamiya group in Mindanao.

More than 600 families have fled to safer grounds.

The offensives in Maguindanao came as the country remembers the 5th year anniversary of the bloody Marawi siege. The terrorist group wanted, but failed, to establish a caliphate in Marawi and in Mindanao. 

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