According to the Filipino army regional commander, fighting in Lanao del Sur province of Mindanao likely resulted in the death of Dawla Islamiya leader Abu Dar on Thursday, March 14. Dawla Islamiya, a pro-Islamic State (IS) coalition, clashed with military forces on Thursday, resulting in the death of four soldiers and four militants around 17:00 (local time) near Tuburan. A military announcement on Saturday, March 16, stated that forensic tests are ongoing to confirm the identity of the deceased and that the group may be "neutralized." Further fighting in Lanao del Sur and neighboring provinces, including Maguindanao and Cotabato, remains possible in the near term from the remainder of Dawla Islamiya fighters as well as other militant groups active in the region.
Two soldiers and two Dawla Islamiya militants were also killed on Monday, March 11, in Pagawayan (Lanao del Sur province). On Tuesday, March 12, around 21 people were killed in a military assault on a suspected Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) camp in neighboring Maguindanao province.
Multiple armed criminal and terrorist groups are still active in the southern Philippines despite the ceasefire. These include Dawla Islamiay, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and other Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) splinter groups, and the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.
Individuals in the southern Philippines are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant and criminal activity, anticipate continued military operations, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. As a reminder, several Western governments advise against travel to western and central Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago due to the risk of kidnapping and terrorism.
Copyright and Disclaimer