The mastermind behind the attack at Mindanao State University (MSU) on December 3, 2023 bomb managed to escape during a military operation in Lanao del Sur last week.
The military verified on Monday, January 29, that the purported bomb maker, who killed four Catholic mass attendees and injured seventy-two others at the MSU Ali Dimaporo gym last month, was one of the Dawlah Islamiyah members slain on Thursday, January 25, during a fierce battle in Tapurog, Piagapo, Lanao del Sur.
The commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, Brigadier General Yegor Rey Barroquillo, verified that the bomber Saumay Saiden, also referred to as Abu Omar, was killed during the Piagapo fighting, but the suspected mastermind managed to escape.
Barroquillo added that those slain in Lanao del Sur last week included at least two more militants who were part of the MSU bombing. He named two: one Salman and another Abdul Hadi, who was purportedly responsible for assembling the explosive device used in the MSU explosion.
Following many encounters in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur over the previous two days, a total of nine terrorists of Dawlah Islamiya (DI) were killed.
“The Army troops were able to neutralize nine local terrorist members and recovered eight high-powered firearms,” Dema-ala said.
Internal security activities led to the fighting that broke out in Barangay Taporug on Thursday and Friday between the heavily armed DI terrorists and soldiers from the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion.
After being injured in the engagements, four soldiers were sent to the Amai Pakpak Medical Center, which is located in Marawi.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the four soldiers who sustained injuries during the said operation,” Dema-ala said.
He urged anyone thinking about using violence to reconsider their decision-making as the AFP is still an “indomitable force” that protects Filipinos.