Joint Task Force Central intensifies offensives against terrorists

The Joint Task Force Central under the Western Mindanao Command mounted its offensives against the Daulah Islamiyah-Hassan Group (DI-HG) in Maguindanao.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command said the Joint Task Force Central acted on reports received from the communities, and utilized air and artillery assets to bombard the terrorist group at its identified stronghold in Barangay Saniag, Ampatuan, Maguindanao in the wee hours of March 25, 2021.

“Ground troops were also deployed to conduct focused military operations to foil the terror plots of the said group,” Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. stated.

At around 10:30 in the morning, the same day, troops of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion discovered three newly-abandoned enemy lairs with foxholes in the said barangay.

According to Lt. Col. Raymond Rapi, Commanding Officer of the 1SRB, the said lairs believed to be the enemy advance post and improvised explosive device (IED)-making area were vacated during the bomb run.

“Our operating troops recovered three IEDs, IED components, one analog cellular phone, and personal belongings in the area,” said Lt. Col. Rapi.

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

The said firefight that lasted for about 10 minutes resulted in the death of one enemy and the wounding of a.k.a. Wari/Watrix and several others, as evident in the bloodstains in the area. A soldier was also slightly wounded during the encounter.

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

Armed confrontation also ensued between the military troops and the terrorists in Barangay Salman of the same municipality at around 12:29 p.m., the same day which resulted in the deaths of three more DI-HG members.

A total of four DI-HG members died in the series of operations whose remains were recovered by the troops while several others were believed to be severely wounded.

“We will continue to bolster our offensives to pound down the fleeing enemies and penetrate their strongholds,” said Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Commander of the Joint Task Force Central.

Meanwhile, in a separate operation, troops of the 40th Infantry Battalion recovered two unassembled IEDs in Barangay Salman at 8:00 a.m., March 24. Troops immediately secured the area and disposed of the said IEDs.

Likewise, the troops of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion discovered another IED, a pressure type one, in the same barangay at around 8:50 in the morning, March 25.

Troops immediately coordinated with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team for the proper handling and disposal of the said IED.

Overall, the operating troops from the different army units recovered a total of six IEDs in two days.

“Congratulations to the troops of the Joint Task Force Central led by Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy for these laudable accomplishments,” said Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr.

The commander also expressed his full support to the bolstered offensives launched by the military in central Mindanao and committed to employ all available assets to crush the terror groups and ensure the safety of the people. WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND