Soldier, alleged bomb maker killed in Lanao Norte clash

A portion of Marawi City’s Ground Zero with Lake Lanao in the background. MindaNews file photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/ 02 Oct) – A soldier and an alleged leader of the ISIS-inspired Maute group who escaped from Marawi City were killed in an encounter in Tagoloan, Lanao del Norte last Sunday.

Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Lt Gerry Besana said Hadji Rasul Mambuay, a suspected bomb maker, was killed in an encounter with soldiers of the 4th Mechanized Battalion in Upper Dimayon, Tagoloan.

Besana said the soldiers along with National Bureau of Investigation operatives were about to arrest Mambuay when they clashed with some gunmen led by another Maute leader, Dianalan Dimnatang Imam aka Papayungan.

He said the troops pursued the group until they killed Mambuay.

He identified the slain soldier as SSgt Edgar Lumantas.

Mambuay, known as Commander Mercury, had a warrant of arrest for arson and is listed number 541 in the Martial Law Instruction Number 1 issued by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on September 4, 2017.

A farmer hauls his harvest of marang fruits in Tagoloan, Lanao del Norte. MindaNews file photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

Besana said Mambuay, a follower of slain Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, led an armed group which tried to reinforce the ISIS-Maute gunmen trapped in Marawi.

He said the plan was aborted when the group encountered soldiers who had surrounded the city.

Besana said the troops recovered an M16 rifle, three radio handsets, two rolls of detonating cord and a battery pack after the encounter.

The siege of Marawi staged by the ISIS-inspired militants started on May 23 last year and ended five months after.

The battle displaced around 400,000 people from Marawi and neighboring towns of Lanao del Sur and damaged the city’s commercial district. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)