ZAMBOANGA CITY: Two suspected members of the local jihadist Maute group were killed in an encounter with police commandos and Philippine Army soldiers in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte on Friday. Another jihadist was captured.
Authorities said the fighting ensued after security forces intercepted the gunmen who stole a pickup truck driven by Othelo Adiong.
Adiong, 36, his 62-year-old mother Elvira, wife Esthephanie and son were onboard the vehicle when flagged down by a group of armed men. The gunmen released the passengers and drove away the truck. Another getaway car tailed them while the gunmen tried to escape.
Security forces alerted by the incident set up road blocks while policemen and soldiers pursued the gunmen and caught up with them killing the attackers who were later identified as Azzam Ampua Tahir and Wowie. Their companion Eyeman Alonto, a native of Marawi City who was driving the car, was arrested.
Major General Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said recovered from the slain jihadists were M4 automatic rifle and three magazines, including dozens of ammunition and a caliber 45 pistol.
It was unknown whether the gang was planning an attack or plotting to carry out bombings in Iligan City, but the Maute group has been linked by the police and military in the series of deadly attacks over the last two years.