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Army intensifies manhunt ops after 6 DI-MG militants elude Piagapo clash

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)--The Philippine Army is now heightening its manhunt operations to track and seize six members of the Dawlah Islamiya Maute Group (DI-MG) who outran and fled from their recent clash in the secluded area in Lanao del Sur province. 

The military previously reported that from January 25 to 26 this year, an encounter transpired in the mountainous part of Brgy. Taporug in Piagapo town which resulted in the demise of nine local terrorists, including three of those who were determined to be among the perpetrators of the explosion in Mindanao State University (MSU)-Main Campus here on December 3, 2023.

103rd Infantry Brigade Commander BGen. Yegor Rey Barroquillo reported that unfortunately, not all of the 15 extremists located at that time were overran as six of them evaded, among whom were three others who were likewise identified to be behind the tragedy in the university gymnasium. 

“After the encounter, six were able to escape. Right now, we are still working on finding them. They are subject to a continuous manhunt,” he said. 

Barroquillo nonetheless guaranteed that the impact of the latest skirmish was only confined to the concerned village of the municipality of Piagapo, as well as the neighboring towns of Munai, Poona Piagapo, and Pantao Ragat all in Lanao del Norte province.

A soldier of the 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander shows some of the high-powered firearms, ammunition and other paraphernalia recovered from the encounter in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur which resulted in the death of nine members of the Dawlah Islamiya Maute Group (DI-MG). (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

To ensure the triumphant search for the eluders and finally eradicate the influence of extremism, he shared that they have put in place strategies such as following the guidance of the national government, and partnering with the local government units (LGUs), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), religious leaders and communities. 

Barroquillo likewise stated that they augmented their deployed troops to the affected municipalities, including Piagapo, Masiu, Lumbayanague, Pagayawan, and Madalum municipalities in Lanao del Sur province. 

Starting this month, they now control Munai, Pantao Ragat, and Poona Piagapo towns in Lanao del Norte.

Among the security measures expected to be carried out by the soldiers are serious checkpoints and constant mobile patrols.

“We will remain there until such time na mawala na talaga ang threat ng DI-Maute, including ang kanilang recruitment efforts (that the threat of the DI-Maute will vanish, including their recruitment efforts),” said Barroquillo.

Earlier, the 103rd Infantry Brigade disclosed that they have been pursuing intensive operations since the blast in MSU-Main Campus last year, which claimed the lives of four Catholic faithful. 

The army further underscored that even during holidays, the troopers did not cease hunting the culprits, more so that Commander-in-Chief President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. specially ordered the immediate neutralization of those responsible for the misfortune. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

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Claire Gigje

Information Officer I

Region 10

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