ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 7 July) – A soldier was killed after an improvised explosive device went off during military operations in the boundary of Madalum and Bacolod-Kalawi in Lanao del Sur Monday.
The Army’s 55th Infantry Battalion clashed with members of the ISIS-linked Dawla Islamiya in Barangay Tamparong, Madalum, according to Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, commanding officer of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade.
He said the troops were conducting combat operations “in response to reports from concerned citizens regarding the presence of armed members of a local terrorist group conducting recruitment and forcing them to procure rations” for the group.
Lt. Col. Franco Raphael Alano, 55IB commanding officer, said the soldiers have been conducting combat operations after a series of encounters during the previous weeks in the hinterland boundary of Madalum and Bacolod-Kalawi and “overran the terrorist encampment.”
Cuerpo expressed his grief that one of the soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice in protecting the province from the terrorist group. “Rest assured, we will continue the fight, we will not stop until we could declare the whole province of Lanao del Sur terrorist free,” he vowed.
Maj. Gen. Gene M. Ponio, 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division commander, vowed to sustain the military operations against the Dawla Islamiya under his watch. “We remain relentless against these terrorists groups. “However, we will still encourage them to return to the folds of the law,” he added.
Ponio said the Army will extend the necessary support and assistance for the bereaved family. (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)