GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/21 August) — Three members of an armed group were killed in an encounter with police operatives in the outskirts of Maasim town in Sarangani Province on Saturday afternoon.
Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr., public information officer of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-12, said the three still unidentified suspects were allegedly members of the Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines, a local armed group allegedly sympathetic to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Galgo said operatives from the police Special Action Force (SAF) caught up with the group at around 5 p.m. at a portion of Upper Sitio Lebe, Barangay Daliao in Maasim.
Recovered at the site were a carbine rifle, an M-79 grenade launcher, a rifle scope, a black flag bearing an ISIS logo and an empty shell of an M-203 rifle grenade.
“This is part of our ongoing intensified operations against the Ansar Al-Khilafah, especially against its leader Mohammad Jaafar S. Maguid alias Tokboy,” Galgo said in a statement.
Early on Saturday, the police official said joint Army and police operatives arrested near the site an alleged member of the group identified as Mustapha Gansing.
He said the suspect was nabbed at around 4:30 a.m. at house owned by a certain Kupang Sahak.
Seized from the suspect were an Uzi machine pistol, a tee-shirt with an ISIS logo, suspected bomb-making components and a set of camouflage.
Galgo said the regional police initially deployed police teams to the area on Fridayevening as part of the operation.
He said the operating units were composed of elements from the SAF, Sarangani Police Public Safety Company, Regional Public Safety Battalion-12 and the Sarangani Police Provincial Office.
They were backed by troops from the light reaction company of the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion.
Galgo said the clearing operations in the area are still ongoing as of Sunday morning.
“All operating elements are still in the area and on alert,” he said. (MindaNews)