Troops overrun camp of IS-linked group in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 19 Sept) — Army troops overran a new camp of an Islamic State-linked group, remnants of those who laid siege on Marawi City in 2017, after a gunfight in Lanao del Sur Wednesday morning.

Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., commander of the Army 103rd Infantry Brigade, said three armed men identified as Janla Tangolo, 20, Arapat Tangolo, 22, and Kamarudin Sultan, 20 were arrested in the camp at Barangay Paridi, Piagapo, Lanao del Sur.

Brawner said the soldiers seized from them two M14 and Bushmaster 5.56 assault rifles, one caliber .38 pistol, magazines, ammunition, and bandoliers.

He said the group of around 30 armed belonging to the local IS affiliate, was spotted by villagers who, in turn, reported their presence to the military.

“We are glad that after the Marawi siege, we now receive more reports from the communities regarding the presence of enemies or armed groups,” Brawner said.

Brawner said the IS-linked militants were led by Zacharia Mimbantas who replaced Abu Dar who was slain in a gunfight with soldiers last March.

He said that after the death of Abu Dar, the IS militants were reduced to 30 fighters operating in the southern portion of Lanao del Sur.

Brawner said they are sifting through the evidence they found at the camp to see if the militants have renewed their efforts to recruit new members.

A month before the Marawi Seige in 2017, 37 members of the IS-linked Maute Group, including four foreigners, were killed during a four-day firefight with government troops which overran their main camp in Sitio Pagalungan, Barangay Gacap in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)