Philippine military kills suspected IS militant tied to bus bombing in south

Mark Navales
Cotabato, Philippines
Philippine military kills suspected IS militant tied to bus bombing in south A member of a police bomb squad checks a passenger bus after an on-board explosion of an improvised bomb in Koronadal city, southern Philippines, May 26, 2022.
Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews

Government troops killed an alleged pro-Islamic State militant and captured another after a shootout in the southern Philippines, while hunting for suspects linked to a bus bombing last week, military officials said Thursday. 

The military identified the suspects as Monir Lintukan and Randy Saro, and said they were members of Daulah Islamiyah, the local name for the Islamic State (IS) group. Lintukan was killed and Saro captured following the 30-minute gunfight near M’lang, a town in Cotabato province.

“Due to our intensified intelligence gathering, we immediately tracked down the suspects, resulting in a firefight that killed one of them,” army Col. Jovencio Gonzales told BenarNews.

Officials blamed the pair for having roles in the bombing of a bus that injured two people in Koronadal city, in South Cotabato province, on May 26 as well as a second bomb blast that occurred at a vacant lot near a bus station in another town minutes later. No one was injured in the second explosion.

Gonzales said troops also recovered weapons and ammunition left behind by other militants.

The troops were conducting “focused military operations” when they encountered the militants, he said. The two suspects belonged to a Daulah Islmiyah, a faction within the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) militant group that professes loyalty to IS.

Many BIFF members are wanted for a string of crimes, including kidnapping for ransom and extortion, according to the military. 

Military officials had previously blamed militants linked to BIFF for two roadside bombings that killed three and injured dozens of people in January 2021.

And this past January, a 5-year-old boy was killed and six others, including his two younger siblings, were injured in a bus bomb attack in Aleosan town. Since then, at least six people were injured in April when a homemade bomb exploded aboard a passenger bus in Parang town.

“Your army along with other government forces will continue to pursue those suspects responsible for the bombings here in our area,” said Brig. Gen. Eduardo Gubat, acting commander of the 6th Infantry Division and the military’s Joint Task Force Central.

The JTF Central and the infantry division “will sustain the military operations until the remnants of the terrorist group operating in South and Southcentral Mindanao will be neutralized and the area will be free from any terror group,” he said.


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