SUPPORTERS of the Dawlah Islamiya-Maute in Piagapo town have cut ties with the Islamic State-affiliated group following last week’s government operations in another town where at least seven members of the extremist organization were killed, according to the military. 

In a statement over the weekend, the 103rd Infantry Brigade based in southern Philippines said 30 supporters, including those acting as couriers for the Dawlah Islamiya, turned themselves in to the military headquarters in Madalum, Lanao del Sur.

“The activity can be attributed to the recent successful encounter at… Maguing Lanao del Sur on March 01, 2022 that brought fear to all other members and supporters of the DI-MG (Dawlah Islamiya-Maute Group),” the 103rd Infantry Brigade Team, also known as the Haribon Team, said. 

Government forces launched a land and air offensive in Maguing on March 1, where seven Dawlah Islamiya members and one soldier were, based on the military’s report as of Friday. 

Five other soldiers were wounded during the encounter. 

The military’s Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said troops have also recovered a significant weapons cache at the camp, where the group was conducting training operations and planning for sabotage activities.

WestMinCom Spokesperson Andrew M. Linao, in a statement Friday, asserted that the “real target is the Daulah Islamiya Maute group,” and that reports of civilian casualties in surrounding communities were still being verified. 

“From the ground to the spot and progress reports, there was no indication that there were involved civilian casualties,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino, noting that evacuation was conducted in coordination with the local government and police. 

WestMinCom commander Alfredo Rosario, Jr., in a press conference Friday, also clarified that the confusion over the attack with Maguing-based members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has signed a peace deal with the government, has been settled.   

The province of Lanao del Sur includes Marawi City, which was taken siege by the Maute group in 2017. — MSJ

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