Filipino troops kill suspected suicide bomber, capture another

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Filipino troops killed a suspected militant and captured another in a brief shootout with rebels aligned with the Islamic State group who are responsible for recent bombings in the south, military officials said Thursday.

Army troops and police briefly clashed with fighters from the Daulah Islamiyah group in the town of M’lang, Cotabato province, on Wednesday as they searched for the perpetrators of the recent bombings that aimed to extort money to bus companies and other businesses in the south, military officials said.

A suspected militant, Monir Lintukan, was killed in the clash and another, Randy Saro, was arrested, army battalion commander Lt. Col. Rommel Mundala said. Several others escaped.

Lintukan and Saro are among the suspects in last month’s bombings of a bus in Koronadal town and a bus parking lot in Tacurong town, army officials said. One person was injured in the Korondal explosion.

“Thanks to the intensification of our intelligence gathering, we immediately tracked down these suspects and launched manhunt operations,” said Colonel Jovencio Gonzales, commander of the regional army’s infantry brigade.

Despite a 2014 government peace pact with the largest Muslim separatist group and years of military offensives, pockets of armed insurgents, some aligned with the Islamic State group, still pose a threat in the south, the homeland of Muslims minorities of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation. .

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