By Claire R. Gigje
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)--A top-wanted leader of the Dawlah Islamiya - Maute Group (DI-MG) was neutralized alongside his companion amidst a firefight that transpired in Brgy. Marawi Poblacion here, at 1:30 A.M. Wednesday, June 14.
This was confirmed by Police Regional Office Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (PRO BAR) Regional Director PBGen. Allan Cruz Nobleza, detailing that during the face-off between the security forces and DI-MG, the latter’s leader known as Abu Zacaria and his member, Abu Morsid, were slain.
He bared that the incident ensued as the target individuals fired upon the government troops who attempted to serve the warrants of arrest to the mentioned personalities.
Accordingly, Zacaria and Morsid had pending warrants dated November 20, 2019 for the crime of murder and frustrated murder filed before the Regional Trial Court Branch 21 in Kapatagan town in the province of Lanao del Norte.
Recovered items from the possession of the named personalities included three M16 rifles, a caliber 9mm glock 17 pistol, improvised explosive devices, and some ammunition.
Nobleza revealed that they were able to identify the recent location of their target individuals due to their continued operation conducted in collaboration with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
He recalled that before this latest event, they had already encountered the same group in Marogong town in Lanao del Sur province on May 25 this year which led to the arrest of its four members.
Nobleza stated that it was because of this that Zacaria threatened to terrorize the entire municipality of Marogong if their demand to release four of their captured members would not be granted.
Following this, a focused-military operation was accordingly done anew which resulted in the killing of another three members and the movement of the remaining members to the city here, leading to the most recent episode of confrontation.
Nobleza shared that when the incident in Brgy. Marawi Poblacion here occurred, the Marawi City Police Station immediately conducted a chokepoint operation for the possible egress and ingress points of the remaining members while all municipal police stations around the city were alerted for possible escape or support coming from different places.
“All police in Lanao del Sur, including in other provinces, are alerted because of this incident,” he said.
Nobleza, however, stated that everything is now back to normal as the Marawi City Police Station provided perimeter security to guarantee that the affected area would only be limited to the place where their targets dwelled.
He also conveyed that the matter about the remnants of the DI-MG is still subject to investigation, validation and verification by their intelligence unit.
Nobleza noted that they might have received a report about the presence of the group in Maguindanao del Sur province but the continuing military and police operations are accordingly making these members on the run with the pressure brought by the security forces.
He additionally assured that the Philippine Army and PNP are exerting their effort to locate the left members of the local terrorist group, including their sympathizers and supporters.
Nonetheless, Nobleza saw that after a series of operations conducted by the military and police, the DI-MG would suffer setbacks and a great loss, especially that its leader, Abu Zacaria, alongside his immediate sub-leader was neutralized.
“They are on the run, and I think it will take time before they can organize [another group] and take any actions against the security forces because they are restless and their formation is almost decimated,” he said. (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)