File photo of the Armed Forces of the Philippines 155-mm Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System now being used against Islamic State-linked terrorists in Maguindanao del Sur marshland. (Photo courtesy of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – A military operation that entered its second day on Thursday resulted in the deaths of at least two suspected Dawlah Islamiya (DI) extremists, while four others were injured in an ongoing air and ground assault on the border of Maguindanao Sur and North Cotabato provinces.

Brigadier Gen. Donald Gumiran, commander of the Army's 602nd Infantry Brigade (602Bde), said the government forces were pursuing Almoben Sibud, a DI group subleader, along with about 30 armed followers responsible for bombings in the area.

“Our specially trained ground troops are in the area, hopefully circling our targets,” Gumiran said, adding that the operation was coordinated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The 602Bde artillery unit utilized its recently acquired 155-mm Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System (ATMOS) for the first time during the operation.

A DI member was arrested and is currently undergoing interrogation. He was identified as Mohammad Agbas of Barangay Dungguan, Datu Montawal town, and was found with a .45-caliber pistol and ammunition.

About 700 people from the village of Dungguan and surrounding areas have fled to safer grounds following the launch of the military operation.

Regional interior minister Naguib Sinarimbo of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said personnel from the region’s Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence (READi) are currently on the ground attending to the needs of the displaced families. (PNA)