1 soldier killed, 4 others wounded in Maguindanao clashes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 4) — A soldier was killed while four others were wounded in a series of clashes between government forces and an ISIS-linked terror group in Maguindanao this week.

Sgt. Jose Nasar De Luna was killed in a firefight with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Brgy. Pamalian, Shariff Saydona Mustapha town Monday. His companion, Pvt. Roy Mark Exiomo, was wounded, said Capt. Arvin Encinas, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division.

The military is verifying reports that four BIFF members were killed in the fighting.

On Tuesday, three military personnel were wounded as government forces blocked an attempt of the BIFF to occupy the municipal hall of Datu Paglas, the military said Wednesday.

The casualties were identified as Cpl. Millard Bacatan and Pvt. Allan Cabildo of the 33rd Infantry Batallion, and militiaman Musa Kalim.

They were among the troops who attacked concrete houses the BIFF members were occupying in Sitio Mopac, Barangay Poblacion, an area 500 meters from the municipal hall, the military said.

"Supported by armored vehicles and infantry mortars, the house-to-house close quarter battle lasted about nine hours in an area that is located in the middle of a rice field," the 6th Infantry Division said in a press release.

It added troops recovered three improvised bombs planted near the enemy-occupied areas.

Hundreds of civilians have been evacuated. The military said no civilian was hurt from the skirmishes.

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the government forces are doing all they can to prevent any other terror attack similar to the five-month war in Marawi City last year.

Rehabilitation efforts are underway in Marawi, battle ground of government forces and the ISIS-linked Maute group from May to October last year. Over 1,000 people, mostly terrorists, were killed in the heavy fighting.

Cotabato-based journalist Erwin Cabilbigan contributed to this story