Tuesday Jun, 15 2021 09:41:09 PM

3 BIFF slain, 4 hurt in Maguindanao clashes

Local News • 09:15 AM Fri Mar 19, 2021
317
By: 
John M. Unson
BIFF attacks scare villagers in Maguindanao town

COTABATO CITY --- Soldiers and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters twice fought in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town in Maguindanao Thursday, causing panic among residents.

Army officials and community leaders said the hostilities were provoked by the BIFF to stir an impression that it has not been weakened by loses in recent encounters with the military in central Mindanao’s adjoining North Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces.

The latest provocations by the outlawed BIFF, operating in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, followed the surrender of 22 members to the 6th Infantry Division in separate events in the past three weeks.

Three terrorists, Kamid Sangid and Malik Samsudin, were reportedly killed in the first of Thursday’s two Army-BIFF encounter in Barangay Kitangao in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, located in the second district of Maguindanao. The third fatality remained unidentified.

"Four other BIFF were hurt and four soldiers were also slightly injured," Lt. Colonel Karl John Baldomar, said. 

Major Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, said Friday they cannot confirm that the BIFF had two fatalities without actual cadaver count.

“We don’t have actual count of enemy cadavers but the reports from the local communities about that are so persistent,” Uy said.

The Army-BIFF encounter on Thursday morning was followed by another gunfight in the same barangay that waned only when members of the ISIS-inspired group ran out of ammunition and scampered away.

Villagers told reporters BIFF gunmen opened fire first on personnel of the 1st Mechanized Brigade dispatched to Barangay Kitango after they reported sightings of armed men near their village as if preparing for an attack.

The marauding BIFF forces fled to different directions when they sensed that more Army reinforcements from nearby towns were closing in.

Local officials, among them members of different municipal peace and order councils, have cautioned the 6th ID against possible escalation of BIFF attacks to project strength despite the surrender of no fewer than 80 members in the past six months to different Army units under the division.

More than 200 BIFF gunmen have renounced their membership with the group in batches since 2017, now being reintroduced to mainstream society jointly by the 6th ID and different government and non-government entities.  

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