Army patrol clashes with alleged Maute gunmen in Lanao del Sur’s Masiu

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 20 January) — An Army combat patrol engaged a group of armed men on board two bancas who were trying to sneak into the town of Masiu in Lanao del Sur on Saturday dawn.

Brig. Gen.  Roseller Murillo, commander of the Army’s 1st Tabak Division, said the platoon of soldiers encountered more than ten Maute gunmen at the vicinity of Barangay Kalilangan, Masiu town at around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday. No one was reported killed or injured.

Murillo said that despite total darkness, the soldiers were able to sink the two bancas used by the gunmen in trying to sneak into Masiu town.

WARNING. A tarpaulin warning punishment for ferrying of fictitious registrants hangs outside the Masiu town hall during the registration of voters in July 2012. MindaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

He said the soldiers did not find any bodies from the two sunken bancas but recovered firearms and explosives.

The recovered items included an M-203 grenade launcher, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, anti-personnel rockets, a binocular, ISIS black flag and assorted drug paraphernalia.

The firefight came after the military went on full alert in Marawi City with tanks and soldiers guarding its streets.

Lanao del Sur Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong of the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said they received persistent reports that Daesh-inspired Maute gunmen and massing up again in the town of Piagapo in Lanao del Sur.

He said they relayed the information to the military for them to check. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)