Dawla Islamiyah sub-leader slain in Marawi gun battle

Army Scout rangers shelter under cover beside a street after Maute gunmen fired shots at them in Marawi City on May 27, 2017. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO / ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 12 April) — A joint Army and police team killed a sub-leader of the Islamic State-inspired Dawla Islamiyah during a 30-minute gun battle before dawn Monday in Marawi City, top military and police officials said.

Brig. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, identified the fatality as Usop Nasif alias Abu Asraf, who was killed following a gun battle with a platoon of soldiers and four teams of policemen in Barangay Guimba at around 3:30 a.m.

Nasif was said to be the next in rank after the new Dawla Islamiyah leader, Faharudin Hadji Satar alias Abu Bakar or Abu Zacaria, in Lanao del Sur.

Cuerpo said Nasif allegedly detonated an improvised explosive device at the arresting officers.

“Nasif also fired at the team, forcing the soldiers and policemen to shoot back. The troops executed closed quarter battle maneuvers to get near him,” Cuerpo said.

He said that troops found the dead body of Nasif in one of the two rooms of their small bungalow where his second wife and six-month baby are also staying.

Cuerpo said that Nasif’s wife and their child sustained injuries and were rushed to the Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC) in Marawi City for treatment.

Colonel Rex Derilo, Lanao del Sur police director, told MindaNews by phone that at least six government troops – one from the 82nd Infantry Battalion and five from the police’s Special Action Force – were also wounded during the clash.

The wounded troops were treated at the APMC and are now in safe condition, he said.

Derilo said there were indications that Nasif, aside from his family, had several companions who might have escaped using the back door.

Cuerpo said Nasif went home to spend Ramadan, which was scheduled to start Tuesday, with his family.

With concerned citizens reporting Nasif’s presence, authorities organized a team to serve an arrest warrant for multiple murder against him, which was issued by a court in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, the official said.

According to Cuerpo, Nasif was facing murder charge for the killing of S/Sgt. Lito Polines, a member of the Army’s 553rd Engineer Battalion who was shot dead in Barangay Basak Malutlut, Marawi City in October 2019.

He said the Glock 17 9mm pistol owned by Polines was found beside the body of Nasif after the gun battle.

Cuerpo said Nasif was also responsible for the murders of two other soldiers and three policemen in Marawi City in 2020.

He said Nasif was also a suspect in the murder of three construction workers at a government resettlement site in Barangay Sagonsongan, Marawi City last year. (Froilan Gallardo and Richel Umel / MindaNews)