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Rebels fall in new Maguindanao clash

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Four suspected members of the Daulah Islamiya-Hassan Group (DI-HG) in Maguindanao were killed while several others were wounded as the Joint Task Force (JTF) Central mounted an offensive against the group early Thursday.

In a statement, Armed Force of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WesMinCom) commander Lt. Gen Corleto Vinluan, Jr. disclosed that a soldier was one of the wounded in the clash.

He also revealed that government troops recovered three improvised explosive devices (IED), IED components, one analog cellular phone and other personal belongings inside the discovered foxholes.

The WesMinCom chief said that the remains of the four rebels were recovered by the soldiers while those who were believed to be wounded were able to escape.

He added that the JTF-Central received reports on the convergence of members of the DI-HG in its stronghold in Barangay Saniag, Ampatuan, Maguindanao, which sparked the deployment of soldiers to conduct focused military operations to foil any terror plots of the group.

Vinluan narrated that he also ordered the JTF Central to utilize of air and artillery assets to bombard the terrorist group and during the offensive, soldiers of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion (SRB) discovered three newly-abandoned enemy lairs with foxholes about 10:30 a.m. also on Thursday.

Lt. Col. Raymond Rapi, commanding officer of the 1st SRB said the lairs were believed to be the enemy advance post and IED-making area, which was empty during the bomb run.

While troops continued to clear the area, they encountered an undetermined number of DI-HG members led by Salahuddin Hassan, alias Abu Saif, Orak and Abu Salman in the same barangay at 11:20 a.m.

The skirmishes lasted for at least 10 minutes which resulted in the death of one enemy and the wounding of a certain Wari and Watrix and several others, as evident in the bloodstains in the area.

Another encounter with the fleeing rebels ensued in Barangay Salman in Ampatuan town Maguindanao which resulted in the deaths of three more DI-HG.

Brig. Gen. Roy Galido, Commander of the 601st Infantry Brigade, said he directed supplemental troops to establish blockade and pursue the fleeing enemies.

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