Honors await 6 fallen soldiers in Lanao Norte; 3 DI-MG also killed

By Nef Luczon and Leah Agonoy

February 19, 2024, 3:26 pm Updated on February 19, 2024, 3:45 pm

<p>Google map of Munai, Lanao del Norte.</p>

Google map of Munai, Lanao del Norte.

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Army's 1st Infantry Division (1ID) will prepare full military honors for the six fallen troopers killed in action in Munai, Lanao del Norte over the weekend, a military official said Monday.

In an interview, Maj. Jairus Mark Mira, 1ID Public Affairs Office head, said families of the slain soldiers were informed of their fate following the encounter with Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group (DI-MG) at 4:23 p.m. Sunday.

At least three DI-MG rebels were also confirmed killed with one body recovered, Mira said.

Four other enlisted troops were injured.

"We are waiting for the (official commencement) plan of command for honors once we have prepared the cadavers for viewing (to families)," Mira said.

The six soldiers belonged to the Army's 44th Infantry Battalion (44IB) which, together with the 7th Scout Ranger Company (SRC) under the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion, engaged the DI-MG extremists in two areas in the town.

The DI gunmen eventually withdrew toward the southeast after a two-hour firefight. A third combat group from the 8th SRC reinforced the troops and extricated casualties, Mira said.

Government troops seized several pieces of war materiel, including M16, M14, and M203 rifles, the 1st Infantry Division said in a statement.

Maj. Gen. Gabriel Viray III, 1ID commander, extended condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers and commended the 44IB and the Scout Ranger units for the "swift and decisive actions."

“Despite the challenges such as poor visibility due to thick fog, progress continues as troops remain mobile and pursuit operations are ongoing," he said.

No let up

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said the military’s relentless operations against DI-MG members would continue.

Brawner also paid tribute to the gallantry of the six fallen troops.

"Our operations have been successful so far and have resulted in the neutralization of 18 DI-MG members including alias 'Engineer' who masterminded the attack on innocent civilians. In continuation of this effort, an operation was launched last February 18 resulting (in) two more dead among the enemy and several others wounded based on intelligence information. However, six of our valiant soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice while another four were wounded," he said in a statement.

Brawner also assured that the best care and treatment would be provided to the wounded troops, who are now recuperating at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital.

"As the CSAFP (Chief of Staff of the AFP), I assure their families and every Filipino that justice will be meted and all efforts will be exhausted in pursuit of the enemy. Our troops are motivated to finish the job and accomplish our mission of defeating local terrorist groups once and for all," he added. (with report from Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)