MARAWI CITY: Authorities are investigating the possibility that a jihadist group is behind the ambush on military personnel in Pantar town, Lanao del Norte wherein one soldier was killed and six others were wounded.
On Monday, over a dozen gunmen ambushed a squad of the 42nd Company of the 4th Mechanized Battalion on board a six-by-six truck during a routine patrol along the Pantar town portion of the highway linking the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte.
One soldier was killed and six others were wounded, two of them are in critical condition. The soldiers reportedly fired back and wounded two of the attackers.
Col. Gilbert Gapay, commander of Iligan City-based 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, told the Manila Times they started coordinating with Marawi city-based 103rd Infantry Brigade to help in a probe on the alleged involvement of the Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM), based on the initial items recovered from the scene.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-government ceasefire committee also sent investigators along with the Malaysia-led International Monitoring Team because the recent atrocities may affect the Mindanao peace process.
Recovered were two vehicles without license plates, a white Ford Ranger and black Toyoto Revo and several types of ammunition shells of Russian-made weapons such as AK or Mikhail Kalashnikov rifles and M203 grenade launcher.
Although officials are mum on the KIM’s involvement, military and police agents had reportedly arrested one of the suspected attackers who was able to post bail.
Col. Manolo Samarita, deputy commander of the 103rd brigade, confirmed to the Manila Times that the recovered vehicle matched the one used by KIM members in the foiled June 17 attack in Marawi City.
Investigators are also looking at other possible motives of the attack such as kidnapping, rido or local feud and a retaliation act on the recent arrest of alleged members of the MILF in Marawi city last Friday.