FOILED TERROR PLAN. Government troops recover high-powered firearms during a combat operation against the terror Dawlah Islamiya-Maute Group (DI-MG) Wednesday (April 27, 2022) in Butig, Lanao del Sur. Five DI-MG members and a soldier were killed during the encounter. (Photo courtesy of the 5IB)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Five members of the Dawlah Islamiya-Maute Group (DI-MG) and a soldier were killed while another trooper was injured during an encounter in the hinterlands of Lanao del Sur, a military official said Thursday.

Lt. Col. Romulus Rabara, the Army’s 5th Infantry Battalion (IB) commander, said “intense fighting” broke out during an operation against 40 members of DI-MG, led by a certain Abdullah in Barangay Ragayan, Butig, Lanao del Sur, Wednesday afternoon.

“The troops engaged the enemy in a four-hour gun battle which started at 8:30 a.m. until noon on Wednesday,” Rabara said in a statement.

He said the 5IB’s 1st Field Artillery Battalion and two AW-109 attack helicopters of the Philippine Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group provided support to the advancing ground troops.

The encounter resulted in the death of five DI-MG members and the recovery of four high-powered firearms, a rocket-propelled grenade, various ammunition, an improvised landmine, and other war matériel.

Rabara said a soldier, Corporal Rutevic Jaralve of Zamboanga del Norte, died while another trooper was slightly injured in the encounter.

He said they initiated the military operation based on information provided by the locals who noticed the presence of armed men in the mountainous part of Barangay Ragayan.

He said the residents' information coincided with intelligence reports that an armed group had been stockpiling construction materials and food supplies in the village.

“The encounter is proof that the terrorists are out to disrupt the peace whenever they are capable. It is for this reason that the Army is aggressive in its counter-terrorism operations,” he said. (PNA)