PETALING JAYA, Jan 28 — A Malaysian is among four believed to have been killed in a military operation in Butig town in Lanao del Sur, Mindanao. The identity of the Malaysia has yet to established is reported to have ties to Islamic-State.
According to the Star Online, the aerial assaults in Mindanao was between the Philippines military and Islamic State-linked Abu Sayaf members which resulted in four deaths including that of the Malaysian national.
The assault also brought about injuries to the leader, Isnilon Hapilon, the Maute group gunmen, and several other Hapilon’s members
Hapsilon, is reported to be on a one-man mission to establish an Islamic State (IS) caliphate in Mindanao after leaving his base in Basilan island in Sulu this month.
Actual body counts had yet to be determined as ground troops were in the process of penetrating the area at the time of report.
According to the report, the Philippines military used its newly acquired FA-50 jets in the assault that were part of the 7th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the Philippines Air Force.
The commander of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., was reported to have confirmed the bomb run by the Army’s 103rd infantry Brigade as a ‘surgical operation’ to indicate attack operation on specific targets in the location of [Abu Sayyaf] leader, Insilon Hapilon, his select group, and the brother Abdullah, Omar and Otto Maute, including other foreigners in their notorious group
Philippines Defence-Secretary, Delfin Lorenzana confirmed Hapilon as the leaders of IS in the Philippines and have allegedly moved to Central Mindanao at the behest of the IS in the Middle East to unify extremist groups like the Maute and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
Hapilon, who is on the US Department of Justice list of most-wanted terrorists worldwide with up to US$5mil (RM22.16mil) bounty for his capture, moved to Butig from his stronghold on southern Basilan island a month ago to look for a base for his new militant alliance.
Maj Gen. Galvez denied US military presence in Butig, but confirmed obtaining intelligence and other forms of assistance from the American troops stationed at the Westmincom.
In Cotabato City, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ordered its men in Central Mindanao and in Lanao del Sur to help pursue Hapilon and the other terror suspects.
Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chief negotiator, said the MILF was invoking the provisions set for the Ad hoc Joint Action Group, an anticriminal body tasked “to interdict and isolate” criminal groups, such as kidnappers and terrorists.