Philippine troops repel major Daesh attack

Philippine armed forces chief gen. gilbert gapay has called for greater vigilance among troops and members of the public to prevent terrorist attacks. (AFP)
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Police wearing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus check a burned patrol car in Datu Piang, Maguindanao province, southern Philippines on Friday Dec. 4, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 05 December 2020

Philippine troops repel major Daesh attack

Philippine armed forces chief gen. gilbert gapay has called for greater vigilance among troops and members of the public to prevent terrorist attacks. (AFP)
  • Around 50 militants strike southern Muslim town of Datu Piang

MANILA: Philippine security forces repelled a major attack by Daesh militants in southern Maguindanao province, army officials confirmed.

About 50 militants from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) group struck the Muslim town of Datu Piang around 10 p.m., the Army 6th Infantry Division said on Friday.

“The attack was a retaliation against the chief of police, who previously had problems with a relative of some members of the group,” the army report said.

Spokesman Lt. Col. Anhouvic Atilano said the militants were led by BIFF commander Sukarno Guilil, a supporter of Ustadz Karialan, who had previously led attacks against the military and police.

No casualties were reported among the security forces, while the military is still examining the scene.

The attack sparked fears of a repeat of the 2017 Marawi city siege, which lasted over five months and left more than 1,000 people dead.

BACKGROUND

The attack sparked fears of a repeat of the 2017 Marawi city siege, which lasted over five months and left more than 1,000 people dead.

However, Philippines armed forces chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay said the incident was an “isolated case” and  troops “have already learned their lessons from Marawi.”

“It happens every now and then in Maguindanao. We have been receiving reports of security forces being harassed,” he said.

Militants were attempting to “sow terror in the area, but another Marawi is highly improbable,” Gapay said.

The army reportedly received a tipoff that extremists were preparing an attack.

“Generally, the armed capability of the BIFF is on a decline,” Gapay said.

However, he called for greater vigilance among security forces and members of the public.

“They are really not that strong, but this is terrorism we are confronting. Usually they attack whenever we let our guard down or when our vigilance is low.”