Suspects in ambush of Marines in Lanao del Sur pursued

COTABATO CITY (PNA) – Police and Marine field units are hot on the trail of suspects behind the weekend ambush in Marogong town, Lanao del Sur province that killed a Marine sergeant and injured three others.

“We have identified the suspects and a joint police and Marine manhunt operation is ongoing,” said Lt. Joseph Chicano, Marogong municipal police station chief, on Monday, Feb. 6, referring to the ambush of a Marine vehicle in Barangay Cabasaran, Marogong at around 3:50 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Slain Marine Sgt. Tonti Melbert Pamaran and his wounded companions Sergeants Jeram Aradji and Joan Aniñon and Corporal Mark Anthony Bañares are all under the 2nd Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT-2) based in Malabang town, Lanao del Sur.

Chicano said around 10 gunmen, led by Faharudin Hadjisatar, leader of Dawlah Islamiya (DI) in Lanao del Sur, positioned on both sides of the dirt road in Barangay Cabasaran and opened fire on the approaching military vehicle, triggering a brief firefight.

“It was unclear if the ambushers also suffered casualties during the exchange of gunfire," Chicano said.

According to military and police intelligence reports, Hadjisatar is now the leader of the DI in Lanao del Sur, a remnant of the Maute terror group that laid siege in Marawi City in 2017.

Hadjisatar succeeded Owaida Marohombsar, also known as Abu Dar, the leader of the DI-Maute Group who was killed in Lanao del Norte in March 2019.

The Marawi siege left more than 1,200 soldiers, civilians, and terrorists killed and ruined the city.