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8 Islamic State-linked gunmen yield to Army in Maguindanao.

Eight members of a Daesh- or Islamic State (IS)-inspired Moro armed group surrendered to the military on Friday, the Army here said Sunday.

The surrenderees, led by bomb-making expert Salahudin Hassan of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), surrendered to Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) through the Army's 601st Infantry Brigade in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.

Hassan was a student of Indonesian bomber Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, who was killed in a police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 2015. That operation led to the death of 44 members of the elite Special Action Force, 17 members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and several civilians.

Major General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of JTF Central and the 6th Infantry Division, said Hassan and his men were in the custody of the Army. He added that they provided the military with information on the location of other BIFF members.

With the information, Sobejana ordered air strikes by two OV-10 Bronco bombers that dropped bombs in Sitio Tatak, Barangay Tugal, Sultan Sa Barongis, Maguindanao, at about 6 a.m. on February 2, 2019.

Major Arvin John Encinas, 6th ID spokesperson, said the air strikes destroyed BIFF bunkers and foxholes.

'We ease the fear of our people and assure them that safety procedures were undertaken and deliberately planned by JTFC giving due concern to the safety of the civilian populace,' Sobejana said, adding that the surgical operation was coordinated with the MILF.

'It was far from civilian communities so no civilians were affected,' he said.

Sobejana said he was determined 'to defeat these threat groups and prevent them from doing terroristic activities and to bring about peace in Central Mindanao,' Sobejana said.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Feb 3, 2019
Words:330
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