Wednesday Mar, 22 2023 05:26:14 AM

6th ID's crackdown on ISIS-inspired groups continue

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 15:15 PM Sun Jul 28, 2019
John M. Unson
The group being targeted by 6th ID fabricates home-made bombs. (Handout photo)

MAGUINDANAO --- Soldiers are still running after militants, six of them foreigners fabricating explosives for the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, in a continuing crackdown launched Thursday

The Army’s 6th Infantry Division and the police on Sunday tightened security in central Mindanao to forestall retaliations by the BIFF for the deaths of six gunmen in hostilities in marshes in Shariff Saidona Mustapha, Maguindanao close to the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta.

More than 300 ethnic Maguindanaon families were forced to relocate to neutral grounds for fear of being trapped in the crossfire.

Units of 6th ID are out to neutralize a group of BIFF bandits implicated in recent deadly bombings in central Mindanao.

The BIFF, which has three factions, uses the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as its banner.

The group has a reputation for setting off powerful improvised explosive devices in public spots and along highways to avenge losses in encounters with soldiers.

Members of different municipal peace and order councils in the adjoining North Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces on Sunday confirmed that no fewer than six BIFF members perished in skirmishes that started Thursday.

Four of the six BIFF fatalities were identified as Oman, Andok, Salem and Kasim, all followers of the radical Abu Toraife, whose real name is Abdulmalik Esmael, leader of one of three BIFF factions.

An Army Ranger, Sgt. Ahmad Mahmood, was killed in a gunfight Thursday with BIFF members in Barangay Dasawao, Shariff Saidona Mustapha.

Local officials also corroborated circulating stories purporting the presence of six foreigners in the BIFF group that units of 6th ID are now tracking down in towns along the Liguasan Delta.

Two of them have Middle Eastern features while the rest are Malaysians and Indonesians, according to barangay leaders in Pikit, North Cotabato and in Datu Piang and Shariff Saidona towns in Maguindanao. 

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