Gov’t forces kill 4 IS gunmen, wound 1 in South Cotabato

August 10, 2020
Jeoffrey Maitem - @inquirerdotnet

Government soldiers killed four suspected followers of Islamic State (IS) and captured another in separate operations in South Cotabato province, a police official said on Monday (Aug. 10).

Col. Lino Capellan, regional police spokesperson, said police were serving arrest warrants at the village of Lumakil, Polomolok town, past 6 a.m. on Saturday (Aug. 9) when the subjects of the warrants resisted arrest, leading to a gunfight.

The arrest warrants were issued against Solaiman Paraluman, Rod Embang and Ottoh Alangan, all suspected members of Daulah-Islamiyah, a local name for the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

Capellan said Ottoh Alangan was wounded in the gunfight and his companions fled. Alangan was brought to a hospital but he was declared dead on arrival, said Capellan.

Minutes later at the same village, cops raided another hideout to arrest Sadan Macabangin, a terror suspect who was wanted for murder, but Macabangin opened fire at the team of law enforcers, triggering a clash that killed a companion of Macabangin.

The third operation, according to Capellan, killed two suspected terrorists, identified as Noel Castrana and Amer Pagalasan, who both resisted arrest. One of their companions was arrested.

Capellan said the “neutralized, arrested and target suspects” were all members of Dawlah Islamiyah and led by Geoffrey Nilong and Abu Omar. He said the suspects were behind a string of crimes.

President Rodrigo Duterte had signed the new Anti-Terrorism Act which allows the government to carry out warrantless arrests of terror suspects and detain them without charges for up to 24 days.

It removed a requirement that police present suspects before a judge to determine that they were not tortured. It also created an Anti-Terrorism Council which had been given the judicial powers to order arrest and searches without any member of the judiciary sitting in the body.

The military has tagged the homegrown terror group Abu Sayyaf in many of the deadliest terror attacks in the country that included bombings, kidnappings and beheadings. A faction of the terror group, believed led by Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, is behind many of the attacks, according to the military.

The military said Sawadjaan had planned the two suicide bombings that killed 23 people in a Catholic cathedral in Jolo, a predominantly Muslim town, in January 2019.