MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (AFP Wesmincom) on Tuesday confirmed that 9 alleged terrorists were killed and 3 were wounded in recent military operations in Central Mindanao.
Wesmincom chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the military launched operations to prevent terror activities in urban centers and other public areas in the region.
"They are the students of foreign terrorists on bombing," Wesmincom chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said.
The alleged terrorists were slain in separate military offensives against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Abu Torayfie group in Maguindanao on July 25 and July 27, the Wesmincom said in a statement.
"They are responsible [for] the recent bombing in the area. They are also responsible in fabricating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that are being used during IED attacks in some parts of the AOR (area of responsibility) of the Western Mindanao Command," said Sobejana.
During the July 25 operation in Barangay Dasawao, Shariff Saydona Mustapha town, one soldier, Sgt. Ahmad Mahmood, was killed. In a 10-minute firefight in the same barangay two days later, one soldier suffered wounds, the Wesmincom said.
Among the suspected terrorists slain were, meanwhile, identified as Abdul Mosaiden, Mohammad Satar, Hamid Ekal, Maula Samad, Esmail Kagui Malang, Muner Akbal, Musanep Kabelan and a certain Alimudin.
The military said locals identified the terror suspects hurt as Abdul Mama, Pagayao Sulaiman, and Omar Malayog.
“Deliberate offensives against terrorists continue, inflicting more casualties and impeding any hostile plans of terrorists as military troops attempt to penetrate enemy strongholds in Maguindanao,” said Sobejana.
He said the death of the 9 terror suspects have significantly reduced their capability to manufacture IEDs as well as launch attacks.
"We will not stop until all the terror members are either neutralized or we are able to convince them to renew their lives," he said.
He added that the extension of martial law in Mindanao is helping them in their peace efforts. Military rule was first declared in Mindanao when firefights erupted between terrorists and state forces in Marawi City in May 2017.
"We have a very porous border that's why we need more naval assets to dominate control over the maritime domain," he said.
Meanwhile, Sobejana said that they have confirmed that 7 foreign jihadists are in the country and that 42 others are under close watch.
"We really need to intensify our intelligence efforts as well as intensify our stakeholder engagement. Educating our people on the indicators of foreign or local terrorists so that they can immediately report to us and in turn we can take appropriate actions immediately," he said.
The military, he said, is not the only solution to the problem. He said it requires the involvement of other sectors of the society.
"We are optimistic that we can achieve the objectives being set by the national leadership," he said.