BY ASANGAN T. MADALE
MARUGONG, Lanao del Sur – JOINT OPERATING TROOPS from the 32nd Infantry Battalion (32IB) and the 103rd Infantry (Haribon) Brigade conducted a combat patrol, which resulted into a running gunbattle with an unidentified members of Dawlah-Islamiyah in the hinterlands of Brgy. Piangologan and Brgy. Pabrika, Marugong, Lanao del Sur on May 26.
The armed men fled in different directions as government forces were approaching, prompting the government forces to launch a quick manhunt and raided several shanties. Hence, four armed individuals were apprehended when they were caught off guard. A Subsequent investigation disclosed that the captured armed individuals were members of DI-Lanao under Juhan Sandab @ Abu Morsid. The armed group were waiting for supplies and food to arrive from their supporters in the affected area, military officials said.
The DI-Lanao members were identified as MUHAMMAD NASIF @ Abu Rasas (PSRL #14, 1st Qtr, 2023), 18 Y/O, designated as Amirol Media and one of the Key Leaders under Fajarudin Pumbaya Pangalian @ Abu Zacariah (Amir DI-Philippines); SAIDI MACADAAG (NPSRL), 18 Y/O, a brother of DI-Lanao Sub-Leader Ustadz Allanduni Macadaya Luksadatu @Abu Sham; SUHAILI MACABATO, 16 Y/O and; SALIK DAYA, 14 Y/O.
Various weapons were also recovered during clearing operations, including a 7.62mm M14 rifle, a 5.56mm M16A1 rifle, a 5.56mm R4 rifle, a 40mm M203 Grenade Launcher with a defaced serial number, a 7.62mm Springfield Rifle, five IEDs, five 40mm GL ammo with assorted ammunitions, assorted magazines, and personal belongings.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Antonio G. Nafarrete, 1ID Commander, expressed his full support to the troops involved in the operation in his area of command.
“Dawlah-Islamiyah in our area of responsibility is currently diminishing. Likewise, we shall maintain our efforts to defeat them as quickly as possible,” Maj. Gen. Nafarrete said.
“We would like our fellow citizens to remain calm as we work tirelessly to maintain the region’s peace and development,” Maj. Gen. Nafarrete added.
In addition, the 32IB was directed to undertake custodial debriefings and partnership with PNP counterparts for proper disposition and filing of the appropriate criminal charges.
The effective operation is the result of collaborative effort with the concerned citizens in the area.
Meanwhile, based on the incident report of Nasser Alimoda municipal health officer of this town furnished to MDNN said on Thursday after (May 25, 2023) a group of armed men, allegedly members of the ISIS Dawlah Islamia were apprehended by MILF Commander Delta at the periphery of his camp, Jabbal Nur situated at Brgy Pabrica Marugong, Lanao del sur.
His report revealed that ,initially, there were six of them but the two were cleared and released , subsequently, the suspects were turned over to the military by Delta Commander of MILF on Friday (May 26, 2023), the incident happened that time creates chaos which resulted to prepare for evacuation,
The situation worsen when the commander of the group, Abu Zakaria, issued a statement on Friday May 26, 2023 through two-way radio that they will definitely retaliate and urge the civilian to evacuate the place for their own safety, According to the report of MDRRMO of this town, it caused panic among the residents resulting to the evacuation of approximately 90% of the constituents broken down as follows 3,500 households (21,000) individuals evacuated to the nearby municipalities, Malabang, Picong, Balabagan, Lumbaca Unayan, Bayang and Binidaya.
Alimoda said added to the fears and apprehension of those who stayed behind was the lack of supplies particularly food items as most of the evacuees were businessmen/vendors who brought along with them the merchandise. This ultimately became the top priority problem for the last two days
However, last May 28,2023 night, another message from Abu Zacaria was relayed stating that the residents may return to their respective home as he pledged not to involve the civilians and implying that there was no war or battle will happen soon.
Barangay chairman Alcair Halim Diator of this town reported that 10% of the evacuees have already returned.
It can be re-called that when the incident took place more police forces were deployed to Marugong town and nearby areas in Lanao del Sur to ensure the safety of civilians after the Daesh-linked gunmen threatened to launch an offensive.
Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza, police regional director for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), arrived in Marogong on Monday and assured local officials and civilians that the police will protect them.
A police mobile force company from Camp SK Pendatun, the regional headquarters of BARMM police based here, was dispatched to Marogong as early as Sunday morning.
“I came over to ensure and monitor the peace and security of the area and conducted a consultative meeting with local officials,” Nobleza said in a statement.
He assured Marogong Vice Mayor Haroun Marohom of police and military presence in his town.
Nobleza’s visit came after the local Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group led by Fajarudin Pumbaya Pangalian, the self-declared leader of Dawlah Islamiya (DI) militants in the country, threatened to launch terror attacks.
The group ordered the civilians to leave Marogong using a two-way radio communication set, forcing about 2,000 individuals to flee to nearby towns leaving a few men to take care of their valuables since Friday night. ###