Tag Archive: Iligan City

Authorities in Northern Mindanao have been alerted for a possible “spillover” of clashes between government troops and a local terrorist group in neighboring Lanao del Sur, police said said Saturday.

“The command, which is already on ‘full alert’ status, has intensified its intelligence build-up and checkpoint operations in its boundaries to contain and prevent a spillover,” said Supt. Surki Sereñas, Northern Mindanao regional police spokesman.

Members of the 10th Regional Public Safety Battalion have also been sent to augment provincial and city police units that share geographical boundaries with Lanao del Sur “in case of eventualities,” Sereñas said in a statement.

Lanao del Norte and its capital, Iligan City, share a vast boundary with Lanao del Sur.

Police units there are also “constantly” coordinating with police and military counterparts in the affected areas, Sereñas said.

Clashes in Lanao del Sur’s Butig town erupted last February 20 after about 80 to 100 followers of brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute attacked a military detachment there.

As of Saturday, troops have recovered five bodies of the Mautes’ followers, three M16 rifles, a sniper rifle, and two rocket-propelled grenades, said Colonel Roseller Murillo, commander of the Army’s 103rd Brigade.

Earlier, the military said intelligence reports indicate that at least 42 terror suspects, including Omar Maute, had been killed in the week-long offensive.

Three soldiers also died in the clashes while 11 more were injured.

Security forces have been pounding the hinterlands of Butig since Feb. 20 with OV-10 bomber planes, MG-520 attack helicopters, and Howitzer cannons, prompting more than 20,000 people living nearby to evacuate.

No clash occurred on Saturday, but soldiers are still pursuing the Mautes’ remaining followers, Murillo said.

The Maute brothers’ group has been proclaiming itself as a branch of the Middle East-based Islamic State of Iraq and Syria but authorities dismissed these claims, saying the local gunmen were only joining the ISIS bandwagon.

The group is “allied” to a certain Ustadz Sanusi, an Indonesian conduit of the Jemaah Islamiyah who was killed in a raid in Marawi City in November 2012, Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a recent interview. (John Roson)

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Alleged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have reportedly been promising to give lands to tribal folk once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed, a military official said Friday.

Armed Forces public affairs chief Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc said the military learned of the offer through tribal leaders who had protested the MILF’s “new” camp in Brgy. Rogongon, Iligan City.

Alleged members of MILF 103rd Border Command’s 305th Guerilla Unit recruited Higaonon and Maranao tribesmen to train at the camp, then asked them for an P800 “membership fee,” Cabunoc told reporters.

“At in return diumano ay bibigyan sila ng five hectares of land once na maipasa na ‘yung BBL at ma-establish ang Bangsamoro,” he said.

A total of 85 Higaonon and Maranao tribesmen were recruited at the camp in May 2014 then 90 more were recruited last January, Cabunoc said.

Cabunoc said the offer is an “issue,” considering that tribal folk, particularly the Higaonons, own ancestral lands around the camp.

“Issue talaga ‘yun dahil yung ancestral domain ay para ‘yun sa Higaonon tribe mismo at sila ang talagang kinikilala na may karapatan sa naturang lupa, tapos may biglang magpapakilala na sila ang magbibigay ng lupa na ‘yun para sa mga nagpa-affiliate o nagpa-train. Magkakaproblema ang komunidad,” he said.

Cabunoc made the remarks after confirming that the military endorsed protests by Higaonon tribal leaders against the “new” camp in Brgy. Rogonon.

Colonel Gilbert Gapay, commander of the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, had recommended that the camp be dismantled because of the tribal leaders’ protests and because it was built while the ceasefire between the government and MILF is in effect.

Cabunoc said the issue about the camp is a “challenge” to the MILF sincerity in upholding provisions of the 18-year-old ceasefire.

“Challenge ito sa kanila… Alamin nila kung sino ‘yung mga tao na ‘yun, kung talagang tao ba nila na member talaga ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front or nagpapagangap lang na member ng MILF para magkapera,” he said.

“‘Yung pag-recruit at saka pag-training at saka pag-expand ng area, bawal po ‘yun ayon sa usapang pangkapayapaan na pirmado ng government at saka MILF,” Cabunoc noted. (John Roson)

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Authorities rescued a Korean woman from kidnappers in Iligan City on Sunday night, but she was injured as the suspects engaged the lawmen in a shootout, police said.

Yeung Ting Ting, 45, suffered a bullet wound during the firefight and was brought to the Dr. Uy Hospital for treatment, Supt. Ronnie Francis Cariaga, Northern Mindanao regional police spokesman, said.

According to Cariaga, six armed men took Yeung from the Hong Jek Merchandise store along Quezon ave. around 7 p.m. and forced her into a red Toyota Lite Ace van (GSH-351).

Members of Iligan City Public Safety Company launched an operation to rescue the foreigner and intercepted the abductors’ vehicle along C-3 Road, Brgy. Santa Elena.

A brief firefight ensued, resulting in the wounding of Yeung and one of the suspects, Cariaga said.

The abductors eventually left Yeung and their vehicle, and escaped to a hilly area, he said. (John Roson)

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(Update) Two people were killed while 30 others, including several children, were injured in an explosion at a popular KTV bar in Iligan City Saturday evening, police and military officials said.

The grenade, believed to have been thrown by van-riding suspects, exploded near the Il Centro Bar at the corner of Roxas ave. and Quezon ave. around 8 p.m., Chief Supt. Jufel Adriatico, Northern Mindanao regional police director, said.

One Jonel Dumalagang did not make it alive to the hospital, while a certain DJay Jangad expired around 10 p.m., Capt. Albert Caber, spokesman of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said.

Confined at the Don Gregorio T. Lluch Memorial Hospital are Arnold Tiongo, 46; Joel Abriol, 34; John Paul Ponce, 25; Albert Gongob, 21; James Dumalagang, 25; and Frestelle Cabahug, 25.

Brought to the Mindanao Sanitarium Hospital were Danilo Gabrinab, 41; Eric Salcedo, 38; Aldrin Magsayo, 42; Dianne Gapus, 18; Rey Soong, 22; Sunny Mendez, 21; Liziel Lubguban, 34; Dawn Gapus, 19; Jennifer Delos Santos, 28; Abdul Gapur Maruhom, 11; Anipa Makalangkad, 12; and Elmelita Ibarat.

Still recuperating at the Dr. Uy Hospital are Fe Mykeil Gonzalez, 19; Sherralyn Refuelo, 23; Maribel Cabalet, 21; Earl Russel Reveso, 21; Mahali Rose Tantho, 31; Louie Jay Baliwag, 10; Princess Erich Baliwag, 5; and Laila Lamela Candog, 30.

Those taken to the City Hospital are Marilou Aligno, 35; Manuel Maramibel, 42; and Ric Mañego, 26, while one Aliah Basani was brought to the Mindanao Sanitarium OPD.

Members of the police’s Explosives and Ordnance Disposal unit and Scene of the Crime Operatives confirmed that a grenade caused the explosion, Caber said.

Earlier, the military said it recieved reports that an “improvised explosive device” went off.

Investigators are still trying to determine the identities and motive of those who threw the grenade, Adriatico said. (John Roson)

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At least one person was killed while 25 others were injured in an explosion at a popular bar in Iligan City Saturday evening, police and military officials said.

Chief Supt. Jufel Adriatico, Northern Mindanao regional police director, said one Junel Dumalagan died in the hospital.

Ten people are currently being treated at the Sanitarium Hospital, seven at the Iligan City Hospital, and eight at the Dr. Uy Hospital, Adriatico said in a text message.

A grenade exploded at the corner of Roxas ave. and Quezon ave., particularly at Il Centro Bar, around 8 p.m., he said.

Lieutenant Col. Randolph Cabangbang, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman, said he received an “initial” report that a “bomb” exploded, killing three persons and wounding about 20 others.

Cabangbang, however, did not give names of the fatalities.

Members of the Iligan City Police, Scene of the Crime Operatives, and Explosives and Ordnance Disposal unit are still investigating the incident, Adriatico said. (John Roson)

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Kidnappers freed public school teachers Rene Sumagang and Serfino Sanchez of Iligan City in Kapai, Lanao del Sur, on Sunday night but no ransom was paid, a military spokesman said Monday.

Sumagang and Sanchez were turned over by their captors to Tagoloan II Mayor Mizangcad Capal at the old barangay center of Kapai around 7:20 p.m., Army 1st Infantry Division spokesman Capt. Albert Caber said.

“The two were personally handed over by Mangagao Elias alias Ayatullah, leader of the 9-man kidnap-for-ransom group,” Caber said in a text message.

“The kidnappers decided to release their captives after sensing a big number of operating troops in the area,” he said.

Sumagang and Sanchez, both teachers at the Limonsudan Bayug Falls Elementary School, were kidnapped on March 19 in Sitio Kibulag, Brgy. Rogongon, Iligan City.

Elias and his men, alleged extortionists and cattle rustlers, had demanded P4 million in exchange for the teachers’ release. They also threatened to burn down their captives’ school in Brgy. Rogongon if no payment was made.

However, Caber said no ransom was paid as Lanao del Sur Gov. Bombit Adiong Jr., along with military and police officials, “exerted pressure” on the kidnappers.

After their release, Sumagang and Sanchez underwent medical checks and debriefing before being turned over to Iligan City Mayor lawrence Cruz and their families. (John Roson)

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