(Update: 11:30AM, April 24, 2017)
The Combined Arms elements of 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army and tactical operations units of the Philippine Airforce conducted focused military operations against more or less 162 members of Local Terrorist Group (LTG) – Maute Group in Piagapo Complex, Lanao del Sur starting midnight of April 21, 2017.
The continuous focused military operations are in accordance to the President and Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive to destroy local terrorists groups not later than July 31, 2017.
The 103rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army headed by BGEN NIXON C FORTES AFP reported 36 members of the Maute group were killed during the 3 days combat operations, which led to the seizure and occupation of enemy’s main encampment with fortified bunkers, fighting positions, and running trenches at Sitio Pagalungan, Brgy Gacap, Municipality of Piagapo, Lanao del Sur. Whereas, the government forces sustained 3 wounded in action (WIA) caused by shrapnel and bullet wound.
Aside from the enemies killed, 1 cadaver wearing camouflage uniform was recovered during the initial search. Further, various war materials were recovered in the encounter site: Fragmentation and rifle grenades; IED components such as blasting caps, detonating wire, and cellphones; video camera; assorted uniforms, literature’ and identifications of personalities; three (3) motorcycles; food stuffs; and passport of an Indonesian national.
According to BGEN ROLANDO JOSELITO D BAUTISTA AFP, Commander, 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army, combination of lethal and non-lethal effects were implemented to force the LTG out of its current stronghold and compelled them to break into smaller groups. Moreover, BGEN Bautista stressed the application of proportionate force such as surgical airstrikes and precisions to avoid collateral damage towards non-combatants.
The recruitment of teenagers conducted by LTG at Brgy Tambo and the establishment of their camp near their village at the boundary of Balindong and Piagapo towns forced the communities to coordinate and report the LTG activities to the military.
“The Government forces, Local Government Units, and communities will continue to work hand in hand to thwart banditry and terroristic activities and to ensure security, peace and development in Piagapo and adjacent municipalities,” BGEN Bautista said.
The success is the result of a nonstop collaboration and partnership with the military, LGUs and populace in the collective battle against terrorism, banditry and criminality.
Interagency and law enforcement operations in support of the Police and LGUs are continuously being implemented by the military in various places to prevent LTGs diversionary attacks.