Tuesday Mar, 28 2023 12:58:47 AM

Soldier killed in latest BIFF-Army encounter in Maguindanao

Mindanao Armed Conflict • 16:15 PM Fri Jul 26, 2019
John M. Unson
BIFF bandits wanted for alleged acts of terror. (contributed photo)

NORTH COTABATO --- A soldier was killed Thursday in a gunfight near the Liguasan Delta with religious extremists fabricating improvised explosive devices.

Sgt. Ahmad Mahmood succumbed to a bullet wound in the head sustained in an encounter with members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Barangay Dasawao in Shariff Saidona Mustapha, Maguindanao.

Mahmood was among the Army personnel from different units of the 6thInfantry Division searching since Thursday for BIFF gunmen implicated in recent bombings in the Central Mindanao.

Mahmood was killed hours after a powerful explosion ripped through a house owned by a suspected member of the BIFF in Barangay Kabasalan in Pikit, North Cotabato.

The alleged BIFF member, Alimoden Masla, and his 10-year-old son, Edwin, were wounded in the blast. His wife, Misbah, was not as lucky. She died on the spot from blast injuries.

The Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City said Thursday one of the IEDs Alimoden kept in his house could have exploded accidentally.

Masla, now confined along with his son in a hospital in Pikit town in North Cotabato, reportedly belong to the most radical among BIFF’s three factions, the one led by Abu Toraife, whose real name is Abdulmalik Esmael.

Masla said it could either be an artillery round fired from a distance, or a rocket launched from an Air Force helicopter that landed on his house and exploded.  

Talks have been spreading around since Thursday night purporting that two of Abu Toraife’s followers --- the bomb-makers Ibrah Musib and Mansur Akil --- perished in military airstrikes at the marshy border of North Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces that preceded the Army-BIFF clashes that resulted in the death of Mahmood.

Major Gen. Diosdado Carreon, commander of 6th ID, said Friday they are bracing for possible retaliations by the BIFF.

The group, which uses the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as banner, has a reputation for pulling off bomb attacks targeting innocent people.

There are also BIFF hitmen on motorcycles preying on unarmed off-duty soldiers roaming in town centers and in the cities.

More than 30 soldiers in civilian clothes been killed by BIFF gunmen in one attack after another that started in 2017. 


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