A ranking leader of the Dawlah Islamiya (DI-MG) terrorist group, or “amir,” was “neutralized” by military units during operations in Lanao Del Sur, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced Monday.
Col. Xerxes Trinidad, AFP public affairs office chief, identified the neutralized terrorist leader as Khadafi Mimbesa, also known as the “engineer.”
“The efforts of the 103rd Brigade, under the leadership of their commander, Brig. Gen. Yegor Rey Barroquillo Jr., resulted in the neutralization of local terrorists and armed members of the Dawlah Islamiya in Lanao Del Sur on January 25 and 26, 2024, who were identified as perpetrators of the fatal bombing at Mindanao State University [MSU] on December 3, 2023,” he added.
Statements from a surrendered terrorist identified as “Khatab,” a high-value individual in the DI-MG who surrendered to the 2nd Mechanized Brigade on February 11, confirmed initial reports regarding the death of the terror leader and mastermind behind the MSU bombing.
The decisive military operations also resulted in the recovery of nine high-powered firearms, one bandolier, four Baofeng radios, and one smartphone, Trinidad added.
The military statement did not provide any further details related to the operations.
AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. lauded the troops for their successful operation against those responsible for the MSU bombing and called on remnants of the group to surrender.
“Our troops will be relentless in the pursuit of those who will seek to disturb the peace. Take this as an invitation and a call to surrender now and avoid the same fate as your dead comrades,” he added.
President Marcos awarded recognition medals to four soldiers who were injured during a clash between Philippine Army (PA) troopers and DI-MG terrorists last month.
The President personally visited the injured troops at the Army General Hospital (AGH) in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Monday.
He awarded Gold Cross Medals to two wounded troops and gave Military Merit Medals (MMM) with Bronze Spearhead Device to the two other soldiers.
Marcos also provided them and 8 other injured soldiers involved in the DI-MG operations “special financial assistance.”
“He also assured them that his office is acting at the request of the AGH and the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital for additional equipment, allowing them to better serve the troops,” the Presidential Communications Office said in a statement.
In a separate statement, the PA said Secretary of National Defense Gilberto “Gibo” C. Teodoro Jr., Army Chief Lt. Gen. Roy M. Galido and Brawner accompanied the President during the visit.
The injured soldiers were among the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion troopers that engaged DI-MG terrorists in a firefight on January 25 and 26 in Barangay Tapurong, Piagapo, Lanao del Sur.
The operation led to the killing of nine DI-MG members, including Mimbesa, who were among those responsible for the bombing of MSU.
The incident, which happened during a Catholic mass at the MSU gymnasium, killed four people and injured at least 50 others.
Marcos condemned the incident as a “senseless and most heinous act perpetrated by foreign terrorists.”