Army uses truck-mounted howitzers vs IS terrorists in Maguindanao
MIDSAYAP, Cotabato, Philippines – For the first time after being deployed in central Mindanao in October last year, the 155-mm Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzers Systems (ATMOS) of the Army saw action in the pursuit of Islamic State-linked terrorists in Maguindanao provinces.
Brig. Gen. Donald Gumiran, commander of the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade, said government forces on Thursday were running after the group of Almoben Sibud, a leader of the Dawlah Islamiyah terrorist group with about 30 armed followers.
And for the first time, they used the ATMOS in the operation.
According to Gumiran, Sibud is the sub-leader of the group and is believed to be behind the bombings in Maguindanao.
Two terrorists were killed and four others hurt during the operation at the borders of Pagalungan, Sultan sa Barongis, and Datu Montawal towns of Maguindanao del Sur and Mlang and Tulunan of Cotabato province.
Another terrorist was captured and underwent tactical interrogation in an Army camp.
A .45-caliber pistol with ammunition and nine mobile phones were taken from the terrorist.
“Our specially trained ground troops are in the area, hopefully circling our targets,” Gumiran said, adding that the operation was coordinated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
As a result of the recent clash, about 700 individuals from Barangay Dungguan in Datu Montawal town and nearby areas have fled to safer ground.
Aliman Bads, a resident of Pikit town, Cotabato, said he noticed that the artillery attacks were accompanied by airstrikes or bombing sorties.
“I am saddened by this development. It came as we commence the observance of Ramadan,” he said.
Bangsamoro Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said personnel from the region’s humanitarian team Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READi) are already on the ground attending to the emergency needs of displaced families.