4 soldiers killed in Maguindanao Sur ambush

By Edwin Fernandez

March 17, 2024, 5:20 pm Updated on March 17, 2024, 6:44 pm

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao del Norte – Four government soldiers were killed in an ambush perpetrated by suspected Dawlah Islamiya (DI) terrorists in Datu Hoffer Ampatuan town, Maguindanao del Sur province on Sunday morning.

The soldiers were heading back to base at about 10 a.m. after doing marketing chores when waylaid in Barangay Tuayan.

Three belonged to the Army's 40th Infantry Battalion (IB), while the fourth was from the 3rd Army Cavalry, all under the 601st Infantry Brigade (Bde).

Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera, Army 6th Infantry Division commander, strongly condemned the attack.

"The soldiers were doing community service when attacked," Rillera said.

Aside from office supplies, the four soldiers were also tasked to buy food for the "Iftar" of Muslim residents living near their camp.

"Iftar" is the breaking of the fast of Muslims after sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.

Rillera said the 40IB regularly provides free food for Iftar. This year, it started March 12.

Lt. Gen. Roy Galido, Philippine Army commanding general, said in a statement that the ambush strengthened their resolve to eradicate the terrorist group.

"We also stand in solidarity with the families of our four fallen heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice," Galido said.

He assured appropriate benefits and justice for the bereaved.

Brig. Gen. Oriel Pangcog, 601Bde commander, said in a radio interview that DI extremists are most likely behind the ambush.

He said the remains of the slain soldiers are now at the 6ID morgue inside this camp.

"We are yet to inform their next of kin and immediate families," Pangcog said, adding that military pursuit operations are ongoing.

Brig. Gen Allan Nobleza, Director of the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro, said in another interview that he instructed all units to set up checkpoints.

On Dec. 2 last year, 11 DI members were killed during air and ground assaults by government forces in the mountains of Datu Hoffer.

Also killed in the operation was a DI sub-leader. (PNA)