Thursday Jun, 04 2020 02:52:15 PM

Kins: Slain BIFF in Midsayap were minors, not BIFF members

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 17:00 PM Fri Oct 25, 2019
Photos of the slain victims that were circulated in the social media.

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato  – Relatives of seven alleged IS linked Moro rebels slain in an encounter with government forces in Barangay Tumbras here Wednesday claimed they were innocent, minors and not rebels.

Manto Sema, grandfather of Angelo Bangon, one of the seven alleged members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) killed in clashes with Midsayap police and members of 34th Infantry Battalion in a swamp area of Barangay Tumbras.

Showing to reporters the FB images of his grandson, Sema said Bangon was only 13 years old and joined his friends into fishing and stayed overnight in a friend’s house.

“He and his friends were only fishing in the marsh and slept there prior to the alleged encounter,” Sema said in the vernacular.

He stressed it was not true that his grandson was recruited by the BIFF.

Another relative asking he remained unidentified claimed that his son was among the dead and that he was not a rebel and was unarmed.  The father said his son went to the marsh with his friends to fish and stay in a hut overnight.

However, Major Arvin John Encinas, speaking for Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), the slain victims were child warriors of the BIFF.

Soldiers and police were to serve the search warrants against Mama Macalimbol in Barangay Tumbras on Wednesday.  He was linked to the bombing in front of Sto. Nino Church in Midsayap and allegedly a member of big time drug syndicate.

Encinas said the gunmen opened fire on government forces, triggering a 40-minute firefight that left seven dead, including Macalimbol.

Government forces seized high powered guns, including cal. 50 sniper rifle, Garand rifle, Armalite rifle and ammunition.

The BIFF, under Commander Bungos, denied through its spokesperson Abu Mama, that Macalimbol was a group member. (FC)

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