Soldier, alleged MILF rebel killed in Lanao Sur clash

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews/12 July) – A soldier and a suspected member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were killed in an encounter Friday in Marantao, Lanao del Sur in what an Army official said was a result of “misinterpretation” of military presence in the area.

Col. Glen Macasero, commanding officer of 103rd Infantry Brigade identified the slain alleged rebel as Jabier Macagaan.

Macasero said Macagaan was a battalion commander under Azadullah “Bravo” Macapaar of the MILF 102nd base command in Balindong, Lanao del Sur.

The encounter erupted past 4:00 p.m. along the national highway in Bacayawan, Marantao, the Army official told MindaNews over the phone on Friday evening.

He said a team from TV 5 “Bitag” requested the brigade for security escort in going to Madamba town for an interview regarding the Lanao del sur Electric Cooperative.

He said members of the 51st Infantry Battalion served as escorts while a team from the 65th IB served as standby security in Bacayawan.

Macasero said suspected MILF guerrillas fired at the 65th IB in Marantao hitting the driver identified as Pfc Julius Galle in his buttocks.

Galle returned fire hitting Macagaan who was said to be carrying a rocket propelled grenade launcher.

In an interview, Galle said he noticed that a motorcycle-riding men passed by them several times and one of them claimed to be the barangay chair. He said he saw one of the men aiming an RPG at them, and so he shouted at the other soldiers to jump off from their vehicle.

He added he was hit before he could fire his gun at the attacker who was carrying an RPG.

He said his team called for reinforcement from the 51st IB, which arrived after 30 minutes.

Galle said the 51st IB’s driver Pfc Richard Castillo was hit in the legs.

An intelligence operative identified as Cpl Jumer Dagohoy was shot dead by the suspected MILF fighters while trying to rescue Castillo, he added.

The wounded soldiers were brought to a hospital in Iligan City while Dagohoy’s remains were being attended to in a funeral parlor here.

“I have made efforts to coordinate with the ceasefire mechanism to avoid escalation and retaliation,” Macasero said, referring to the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities of both the government and MILF.

“An inquiry with the ceasefire mechanism will be undertaken while investigation is going on,” he said.

He added the incident was caused by “misinterpretation” by the MILF on why there were soldiers in the area. (Richel Umel/MindaNews)

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2014/07/12/soldier-alleged-milf-rebel-killed-in-lanao-sur-clash/

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