Security forces kill 2 jihadists in gun battle in Iligan City
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Two suspected members of the local jihadist Maute group were killed in fire fight with police commandos and army soldiers in Iligan City in southern Philippines, officials said on Saturday.
Officials said another jihadist was captured and is being interrogated, but details of the investigation were not immediately made available by the authorities. The fighting occurred on Friday after security forces intercepted the gunmen who stole a pickup truck in Iligan City.
The truck’s passengers Othelo Adiong, 36; and his 62-year old mother Elvira and wife Esthephanie and son, were in the vehicle when it was flagged down by a group of armed men. The gunmen released the passengers and drove away the truck. Another getaway car tailed them while the gunmen tried to escape.
Authorities alerted by the incident set up road blocks while policemen and soldiers pursued the gunmen and caught up with them and a fire fight ensued and eventually killing the attackers who were later identified as Azzam Ampua Tahir and Wowie. Their companion Eyeman Alonto, a native of Marawi City who was driving the car, had been arrested.
Officials said security forces recovered an M4 automatic rifle and three magazines, including dozens of ammunition and a .45-caliber pistol.
“The prompt response of the government forces, as well as the quick coordination made by the police with the military, led to the successful neutralization and arrest of the members of the terror group and the recovery of their firearms,” said Major General Carlito Galvez, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
It was unknown whether the gang was planning an attack or plotting to carry out bombings in Iligan City, but the Maute group has been linked by the police and military in the series of deadly attacks over the last two years.
The group, based in Lanao del Sur, one of 5 provinces under the restive Muslim autonomous region, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and has joined forces with the Abu Sayyaf and other jihadist fronts in Mindanao in an effort to put up a caliphate in southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)