Terrorist slain as MSU resumes classes in Marawi City

August 22, 2017 - 6:54 PM
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Students, teachers and MSU employees gather in front of the main entrance to the state university Tuesday morning. PHOTO COURTESY OF WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND

MARAWI CITY, Philippines – Classes at Mindanao State University (MSU), disrupted by the three-month-old siege of this once-bustling Islamic city by Maute Group-led terrorists, resumed Tuesday morning despite an attempt by an undetermined number of the Daesh-inspired Mautes to harass the temporary base of military troops in Lanao del Sur.

The terrorists were positioned 200 meters from the location of the engaged troops in Poblacion, Marantao, Lanao del Sur, according to a report by the Western Mindanao Command.

Troops automatically returned fire and were reinforced by ground units, the report added.

The gun battle ended with the death of a terrorist and the recovery of two rocket-propelled grenades, M79 ammunition link for M60, and M203 ammunition. A cadaver was further retrieved by the operating troops in the area of engagement.

“In their attempts to cause havoc, the terrorists even incurred casualties with the preparation of our ground troops,” said Brigadier General Joselito Bautista, Commander of the Joint Task Force Marawi.

Troops further tightened checkpoints in their respective areas of operations to preempt any diversionary ploys by the Maute group to disrupt the opening of classes at the Mindanao State University.

“We are on top of the situation and our troops are prepositioned to thwart any attempts by the terrorists to hamper security. We are also denying reports that there is a lockdown within the campus of the Mindanao State University or its immediate vicinity. Classes at the said university already resumed this morning,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

“With the heightened security, students were transported from Iligan City to Marawi earlier today,” he added.

About 600 students and MSU officials aboard 12 buses left Iligan City and were escorted by the military and police to MSU campus.

A send-off ceremony was held at around 8am with the participation of Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia; Jamaloden Basar, OIC of MSU; Colonel Allan Hambala, chief of staff of the 1st Infantry Division, Philippine Army; and Police Superintendent Ebra Moxir of the Marawi City PNP.

The students arrived at the MSU campus in Marawi City at around 11:15am Tuesday. An opening program was also held at the ground area of Antonio Isidro Hall inside the MSU campus.

Director Usman Aragasi of the Division of the Student Affairs welcomed the MSU students, officials, military and police officers present. He also expressed his gratitude to the Joint Task Group Ranao for the support extended by the military.

Aiza Seguerra, the Secretary of the National youth Commission, also graced the activity.

“We will make sure that any attempts to thwart our plans for normalcy of Marawi City will not be successful,” added LtGen Galvez.

“With the help of the MSU community and those who desire to build back a better Marawi City, we are sure that we can defeat any terror group from perpetrating their plan.”