Monday Aug, 15 2022 08:17:05 PM

6th ID says 3 BIFF men dead in bungled Army detachment attack

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 20:30 PM Sat Jul 23, 2022
John M. Unson

COTABATO CITY --- Three terrorists were killed while a soldier was hurt in an encounter in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao from late Thursday until dawn Friday this week, reports from the 6th Infantry Divison and 33rd Infantry Battalion showed.

The hostilities erupted when more than a hundred members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters attacked a detachment of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Tukanalipao and opened fire, provoking intermittent exchanges of gunshots that lasted for eight hours.

Local leaders said the BIFF gunmen thrice tried to surround the detachment but failed owing to the strong resistance by only about 30 soldiers inside.

The attackers started retreating when three from them --- initially identified only as Tangan, Musib and Tantung --- were killed in the ensuing gunbattle. 

Officials of the Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade and the 6th Infantry Division said Saturday the attack was a retaliation for the death, a week before, of a senior BIFF member, Ramos Amilil, in a brief clash with soldiers in nearby Shariff Saydona, Maguindanao.

Amilil was an expert in fabrication of improvised explosive devices, according to police and military intelligence sources.

Units of the 6th ID, covering central Mindanao, had killed 13 BIFF bomb-makers in one encounter after another since January. 

Villagers, among them traditional Moro elders, and sources from the Maguindanao provincial police said the attack on the 33rd IB’s detachment was planned and led by “Commander Boy Jacket” and companions Musa Ganoy and Muslimin Amilil, who is related to the slain bomb-maker.

The three BIFF leaders who instigated the atrocity are long wanted for heinous offenses, also all tagged in a spate of recent deadly bombings in central Mindanao.

Villagers told reporters the cadavers of the three BIFF members killed in the encounter in Barangay Tukanalipao were carried by companions as they fled when they sensed that Army reinforcements were closing in.

In a statement Saturday, the Army’s 33rd IB said a soldier in the detachment was slightly hurt in the incident.

Major Maximino Gerodias, Jr, chief of the Mamasapano Municipal Police Station, said the BIFF’s harassment of an Army detachment in Barangay Tukanalipao caused panic among villagers in houses nearby.

A number of Moro families have evacuated to areas far from the scene for fear of a repeat of the incident. (John Unson)

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