MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – A boy and three soldiers were killed while 10 others were wounded after unidentified assailants ambushed soldiers inside the Mindanao State University campus in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur Wednesday night.
Senior Superintendent Romeo Magsalos, Lanao del Sur police provincial director, said elements of the 103rd Brigade stationed in Marawi were conducting patrols inside MSU when they were waylaid by some 20 armed men.
He said the ambush occurred about 200 meters from the MSU main gate. The attack killed 3 soldiers and a 10-year-old boy while wounding 12 others, including 10 soldiers and 2 civilians.
“First burst of fire ang report gumamit ng high-powered machine gun. Yun po ang naging dahilan ng agarang pagkamatay ng tatlo,” he said.
The violence, which lasted for more than 30 minutes, reportedly forced school officials to put the entire university on lockdown, according to Twitter user Khal Mambuay (@iamkhalmambuay).
“Classes in #MSUMarawi have been suspended. No one is allowed to enter and leave the campus premises,” Mambuay said.
“Everyone is discouraged to go outside from their dormitories or houses. #MSUMarawi is temporarily in a lock down situation,” she added.
MSU President Macapado Muslim, however, denied that martial law will be declared in the main campus following the incident.
“Let us not allow said incident to disrupt the operation of the University,” he said.
“My Office has not issued or received any order from higher authorities suspending classes. Hence, faculty members, students and employees should report to their classes or offices. We are in the holy month of Ramadhan and let us avoid spreading lies. I have been coordinating with Col. Lucero and Col. Magsalos on how to ensure the security of our campus constituents.”
No war in Mindanao
Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, meanwhile, denied rumors circulating on Twitter, Facebook and social media that “war has allegedly broken out in Mindanao.”
He urged the public to refrain from sharing and posting similar information so as not to cause undue panic
Hataman said the attack on the contingent of the military in MSU “is a handiwork of lawless elements.”
“Security and law enforcement operations are ongoing. We also support all efforts to curb the ongoing drug syndicate inside the MSU Campus. The Regional Government will definitely flex its muscles to clamp down these people who use the academic institution as a haven of their illegal business while destroying lives of our people,” he said.