ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 24 Aug) – Clashes between military forces and the ISIS-inspired Dawlah Islamia in the past few days in the boundary of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte have displaced around 350 families or approximately 1,750 individuals, reports said.
Lt. Col. Julius Librada, commanding officer of the 5th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, said in a report that the encounters erupted in Tangcal and Munai in Lanao del Norte and in Madalum, Lanao del Sur.
The first clash reportedly took place noon last Saturday between elements of the 51st Infantry Battalion of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade against some 30 Dawlah Islamia armed men, but clashes continue as soldiers are pursuing the armed men.
A report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the armed encounter took place in Barangay Lindongan and Barangay Pelingkingan, both in Tangcal.
The report said the evacuees from the affected barangays sought refuge at the Bayabao Multipurpose Building and Proper Tangcal Gym, while others are scattered in the different barangays with their host families.
The municipal government of Tangcal, according to the UNHCR, distributed relief goods to the displaced families.
Troops from the 51IB found and detonated an improvised explosive device intended to inflict casualties on government soldiers, Librada said.
He added that they met with Tangcal municipal and barangay officials Tuesday morning and urged them to strengthen security measures in their respective areas.
“We asked them to report to the police, military or municipal hall if they see people they don’t know,” he added.
Librada said he assured residents that the military will secure the community from possible atrocities by terrorists.
From the municipal and barangay officials he learned that a total of 406 families from different barangays have been displaced, he added.
Librada said the 125th Base Command of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have likewise “assured full support to the military’s efforts in securing the municipality.” (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)