GOVERNMENT FORCES continue to discover improvised explosive devices (IEDs) believed to have been set to detonate by Islamic State (IS)-linked radicals amid an ongoing intensified military operation in the province.
Only this week, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division has stepped up its operation against the IS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Dawlah Islamiyah Terror Group.
At past 6 p.m. Thursday, government troops discovered and disarmed an IED in Barangay Lower Tambunan II, Guindulungan, Maguindanao.
“The device was wrapped in a yellow sack placed inside a dilapidated box,” said Major Gen. Diosdado Carreon, Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander and Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) chief.
He added that the IED was found by a concerned civilian who quickly reported to the matter to the Army’s 90th Infantry Battalion 9IB) in the area.
The man who was not identified in the report said he was suspicious of the item left unattended at the roadside in Barangay Tambunan II.
Troops immediately cordoned the area following a thorough search to ensure the safety of civilians and commuters passing by while the local police controlled the traffic flow.
The Army’s 3rd Explosive and Ordnance Disposal Team successfully disarmed the IED, rigged from an 81-mm mortar attached to a cellphone as a trigger mechanism.
Lt. Colonel Michael Macquilan, 90th IB commander, said that planting of the IED in their area of operation was a diversionary tactic of the BIFF and DITG who are the subjects of the ongoing military operation in Maguindanao. Carreon lauded civilian communities for their cooperation in the fight against the terror groups.
Since Nov. 17, government troopers have recovered more than a dozen IEDs in the so-called “SPMS box” – referring to the neighboring towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi), Mamasapano, and Salibo – where the terror groups mainly operate.
So far, two soldiers and eight BIFF have been killed, including the son and brother of BIFF leader Abu Toraife, and scores wounded in the two-week sporadic skirmishes in the province. (By Edwin Fernandez)