TROOPS from the Army’s First Infantry “Tabak” Division (1ID) launched operations against terrorists who have sought sanctuary at the Piagapo Complex in Lanao del Sur, starting midnight on Friday.
Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, 1ID commander, said the operations has resulted in a series of gun battles between troops from the 103rd Infantry Division-Joint Task Force Zampelan and the terrorists belonging to the Maute Group.
Bautista said the 1ID launched the operations following President Duterte’s order to destroy local terrorist groups that threaten the peace and security of the people.
Bautista said the troops relied on the information provided by the townfolk and the local governments, that pinpoint the whereabouts of the bandits operating in Lanao del Sur.
At around 5:45 a.m. on Sunday, an intense firefight broke out between the operating troops and the local terrorist groups.
There were reports that the bandits sustained heavy casualties but these have yet to be verified, Bautista said. No casualty has been reported on the government side.
The fighting was still going on as of Sunday afternoon.
NPA rebs attack Davao tourist spot
Meanwhile, communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels attacked facilities at the Aliwagwag Falls, one of the main tourist destinations in Davao Oriental, at around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, an official said.
“No tourist was injured in the attack,” Capt. Rhyan Batchar, chief information officer of the 10th Infantry
“Agila” Division, said in a telephone interview.
Aliwagwag Falls is in Cateel town.
Batchar said a team of the Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion was assigned to the tourist spot to secure visitors, as the place is frequented by tourists during summer.
He said around 40 members the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Command staged the attack.
A member of the 67IB was wounded during the attack, but his name was withheld pending the notification of his next of kin.
Batchar said the 67IB team was able to defend its position while the NPAs withdrew northwest of Aliwagwag Falls.
The gun battle lasted for almost an hour, he added.
“The place is secured right now. Pursuit operation is ongoing against the fleeing rebels,” he said.
Nonie Reyes with Philippines News Agency