Daulah Islamiyah planning ‘havoc’ during Ramadan, May elections — AFP
MANILA, Philippines — The Islamic State-linked group Daulah Islamiyah is planning to “create havoc” during the observance of Ramadan, as well as in the national and local elections, a military official said Thursday.
Brig. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, Commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade, said government troops in Lanao del Sur are intensifying its operations to eliminate these threats.
According to Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) Chief Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr., operating troops have recovered 22 improvised explosive devices (IED) and several mines during pursuit operations following the close air support and combat operations conducted in Barangay Ilalag, Maguing, Lanao del Sur on Tuesday morning.
“Our troops averted and countered possible desperate attacks employed by the Daulah Islamiyah to inflict casualties not only to the armed forces but even the innocent civilians,” he said in a statement.
The Wesmincom, citing ground reports, said the armed forces have successfully overrun the enemy’s stronghold which can accommodate around 100 individuals. The soldiers also recovered “several war materials” and around five kilograms of shabu.
The troops have recovered 45 assorted crew-served weapons and high-powered firearms which include three caliber 50 machine guns with tripod, one caliber 30 machine gun with tripod, two M60 general-purpose machine guns, 12 5.56mm M16 rifles, one M653 rifle, one M4 Carbine, one 20-inch AR-15 rifle, five 7.62mm M14 rifle, one 7.62mm M4 rifle, six rocket-propelled grenade launchers, two M203 grenade launchers, six improvised 50 caliber sniper rifles, one Garand rifle, one Browning Automatic Rifle, one caliber 22 AK47, and one shotgun.
Other materials seized are assorted ammunition, magazines, IED components, propelled grenades, improvised rockets, a laptop, radio, cellphone, an improvised explosive mixer, ISIS flags, and propaganda materials.
According to Cuerpo, the operation began in January when enemies were monitored to have relocated from the west side to the east side of Lake Lanao.
“They perpetrated a number of bomb attacks in cellular sites here in Lanao in the latter part of 2021 and early this year. We received a report that the remaining members of Daulah Islamiyah-Maute Group in Lanao provinces and Daulah Islamiyah-Hassan Group from Maguindanao are reorganizing in the target area hence the conduct of close air support followed by the combat operations,” he said.