Troops kill suspected bomber in southern Philippines

Troops in the southern Philippines killed a suspected bomber identified as a member of the local affiliate of the Islamic State extremist group and captured another during a predawn encounter Friday on the island of Mindanao, the military said.

Two improvised explosive devices (IED) were recovered following the clash with Daulah Islamiyah (DI) terror group members in the village of Dicalungan in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province, a military official said.

Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., commander of Western Mindanao Command, said troops from the 40th Infantry Battalion clashed with the DI-Hassan Group whose leader is known as “Alpha King” early Friday after tracking the group’s location.

“The terrorists are desperate enough to show their force to gain popular support from the civil society,” Rosario said. “Rest assured that we will stop them from creating havoc on peaceful communities.

“The firefight resulted in one enemy killed and another captured,” Rosario said while noting other members escaped.

The DI is the Philippine name for the Islamic State. It has links to Abu Sayyaf, the dominant terrorist group in the south whose members have been blamed for suicide bombings, beheadings of kidnap victims and a five-month siege of the city of Marawi in 2017.

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The dead man was identified as Khamhed Akan Kambal alias Meds, a known DI Hassan Group bomber, while the captured suspect was identified as Nasrudin Sali Blah, 22, Rosario said. The military confirmed that Kambal’s body was turned over to village officials to allow for burial following Islamic rites.

After the clash, troops recovered the two IEDs, including one with 105 mm howitzer round as its main charge, bomb components consisting of several pieces of 9-volt batteries, nine cellphones, a remote control and a .45-caliber pistol.

The military and police said the howitzer shell could be unexploded artillery fired in a previous clash with insurgents.

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