AFP pursuit of Dawlah Islamiyah ends in bloodbath: 8 dead, 4 hurt

The continuing pursuit operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against members of the Islamic State (IS)-linked Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group who allegedly perpetrated a bomb attack at the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City last year resulted in yet another bloodbath on Sunday, February 18. 

AFP Chief, General Romeo Brawner Jr. said that six soldiers and two suspected Dawlah Islamiyah terrorists died while four other troops were injured in an encounter in Barangay Ramain, Munai, Lanao del Norte.

There were also an undetermined number of wounded terrorists, Brawner said, citing intelligence information.

A report from the Philippine Army (PA) said that the encounter occurred when elements of the 44th Infantry Battalion and 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion clashed with Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group terrorists who were allegedly behind the MSU bombing on Dec. 3, 2023. The Sunday mass attack claimed the lives of four people and injured 72 others, mostly Christian worshippers.

"[An] operation was launched last February 18, resulting to two more dead among the enemy and several others wounded based on intelligence information," Brawner said on Monday, February 19.

"However, six of our valiant soldiers paid the ultimate price while another four were wounded," he added.

The wounded troopers were evacuated to Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro for immediate treatment.

"I extend my sincerest condolences to the families of our slain soldiers and offer the AFP's support in this very trying time. I will also make sure that our wounded soldiers receive the best treatment possible for their injuries," Brawner said.

The AFP has been running after the Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group to bring justice to the victims of the MSU bomb attack.

Prior to the encounter in Munai, a series of counter-terrorism operations by the AFP in different areas of Lanao del Norte since Jan. 25 resulted in the neutralization of 18 Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group terrorists, including Khadafi Mimbesa alias "Engineer," the pinpointed amir or commander of the group and alleged mastermind behind the MSU bombing.

Brawner assured the public that justice will be meted and all efforts will be exhausted in pursuit of the remaining members of the Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group that are on the run.

"Our troops are motivated to finish the job and accomplish our mission of defeating local terrorist groups once and for all," the AFP chief said.