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Mastermind of Marawi bombing killed in skirmish, Army says

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The alleged mastermind of a bombing at a Catholic mass in Mindanao last year was killed during a military operation in Lanao del Sur last month, officials said Monday.

Among the dead was Khadafi Mimbesa, who went by the alias of “Engineer,” whom the military identified as the “mastermind” behind the bombing.

Four people were killed and dozens wounded in the Dec. 3 attack on worshippers inside the gym of the Mindanao State University in Marawi, the country’s largest Muslim city, that was later claimed by the Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute Group.

Eight Dawlah Islamiyah militants were suspected of carrying out the attack on Mindanao island, Brig. Gen. Yegor Rey Barroquillo of the 103rd Infantry Brigade said.

Five have been killed in manhunt operations, one has been detained and another two were still on the run, he said.

Mimbesa was wounded in the shootout but was able to escape. He died days later while being cared for by a supporter, Barroquillo said, citing intelligence reports.

A statement from a Dawlah Islamiyah member who surrendered, identified only as “Khatab,” corroborated the military’s initial information that Mimbesa has died.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Romeo Brawner urged other members of the militant group to surrender and “avoid the same fate as your dead comrades.”

“Our troops will be relentless in the pursuit of those who will seek to disturb the peace. Take this as an invitation and a call to surrender now,” Brawner said.

President Marcos, for his part, personally visited and honored injured soldiers who were part of the operations against the Dawlah Islamiya last month.

The injured soldiers are confined at the Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

Mr. Marcos also bestowed the Gold Cross Medal, Military Merit Medal with Bronze Spearhead Device, and Wounded Personnel Medal to four wounded soldiers. With AFP

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