ARMS CACHE. Troops recover an arms cache at the fallen lair of the Dawlah Islamiya-Maute Group (DI-MG) in Maguing, Lanao del Sur on March 1, 2022. The Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade announced on Friday (March 4, 2022) that two of the eight slain Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-inspired Dawlah Islamiya-Maute Group members were sub-leaders of the terrorist group. (Photo courtesy of 103IB)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two of the eight Dawlah Islamiya-Maute Group (DI-MG) terrorists killed in Lanao del Sur government offensive were sub-leaders, a top military official said Friday.

Brig. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade commander, identified them as Abu Dimam and Abu Jihad, whose remains recovered in the vicinity of the fallen DI-MG lair in Barangay Ilalag, Maguing, Lanao del Sur.

The lair of the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-inspired DI-MG headed by Faharudin Hadji Satar alias Abu Zacariah fell into the hands of the government troops following hours of firefight Tuesday that was preceded by a military airstrike.

The troops recovered a cache of high-powered firearms and munitions from the fallen lair, which can accommodate 100 persons.

Abu Zacariah, who is the new ISIS emir in Southeast Asia, has joined forces with the DI-Hassan group from Maguindanao, has been hatching plans to stage attacks to inflict casualties not only on government troopers but also innocent civilians.

The troops have recovered a total of 22 improvised explosive devices and several anti-personnel mines that could be used in launching terror attacks.

Cuerpo commended all the units under the Joint Task Group (JTG)-Haribon and the police counterparts for the successful joint operations.

“Likewise, I have to admit that the cooperation and information fed from the civilian populace and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) peace partners greatly helped in exposing the whereabouts of the terrorists,” Cuerpo said in a statement.

“I am again, urging these extremists to let go of their violent ideology, to concede now and go back to the folds of the law and enjoy a new start in peace, or else they will have to pay the great price of violent extremism,” he added.

Cuerpo also acknowledged the active participation of the MILF peace mechanism team in Lanao province who played a significant role to isolate the civilians and MILF community from the series of clashes.

The peace mechanism team is led by Ayobhan Usman, chairperson of MILF Ad Hoc Joint Action Group; Ameruding Usman, chairman of MILF Ceasefire Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities; and Moner Ampaso, chairperson of MILF Local Monitoring Team.

“Our partners from the MILF are with us in this fight against the DI here in Lanao del Sur. Their support is very much appreciated,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, 1st Infantry Division commander, has commended the troops for the feat.

“We dedicate this success to our brother-in-arm, Private Clint Rey Armada, who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the encounter last Tuesday,” Ponio said.

Armada is the lone fatality among the government troops. Five other soldiers were wounded during the firefight.

Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command, also acknowledged the troopers for a job well done.

“I truly commend and salute the diligence and commitment of our troops who are at the frontline risking their lives to prevent the terrorist from sowing terror,” he said.

Cuerpo said they will sustain the aggressive stance against all forms of threat, violence, and wrong ideologies to protect the Maranaos and achieve lasting peace and development in the province of Lanao del Sur. (PNA)