NINE people, including eight Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), were killed in separate clashes in Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces, the military said Wednesday, June 13.
Major General Cirilito Sobejana, Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said the first clash occurred around 8:30 p.m. Monday in Meta village, Datu Unsay, Maguindanao.
Sobejana said the clash ensued as the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion troops launched a counter-action following reports the BIFF will launch attacks to military detachments at any opportune time.
The attacks are in retaliation to the BIFF’S “setbacks on the continuing pursuit operation in Liguasan marsh.”
Sobejana said the firefight lasted for about 35 minutes that resulted to the death of the five BIFF members.
He said the troops have recovered the remains of two of the five slain BIFF members, namely Turman Aber and Mansor Mohammad, and three high-powered firearms and ammunition.
He said the remains of the other three slain BIFFS, namely Yaser Yusop, Mutin Talib, and certain Mamalu, were brought by their comrades to be buried at Sitio Lab in the village of Kuloy, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.
Another firefight ensued when another group of BIFF members attacked a military detachment around 9 p.m. on same day in Limpongo village, Datu Hoffer in the same province.
Sobejana said there was no reported casualties on the government side but a civilian named Ricky Udas was killed when suspected BIFF members riding tandem in a motorcycle fired towards a group of civilians in Limpongo after the firefight.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family of the innocent civilian killed in the incident caused by the barbaric acts of the BIFF terror group,” Sobejana said.
He said the third firefight ensued on the same day when the troops of the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion were fired upon by gunmen while they were observing the house of Mando Mamalupong alias DM, a BIFF sub-commander, at Sitio Macantal in the village of Olandang, Midsayap, North Cotabato.
The gunmen, who opened fire, were among the people inside the residence of Commander DM.
Sobejana said the firefight resulted to the death of Norman Kanapia, a young BIFF member; Pinidiza Tumaganta, the father-in-law of Commander DM and a logistic provider of the BIFF; and, Aida Dalgan, supporter and sister-in-law of Commander DM.
Sobejana said the remains of the three were recovered by the police Scene of the Crime Operatives during a search in the area after the firefight.
He said they have also received report that two others, namely Abad Tumagantang, a BIFF member, and Rashid Dalgan Tumagantang, were wounded during the clash.
He said troops recovered from the clash site the following: one M-16 Armalite rifle; three grenades; one improvised bomb; a caliber .45 pistol; two sets of Battle Dress Attire; one Binocular; three cellular phones; one unit of tablet; and, assorted magazines and ammunition.
Sobejana said the continuing military operation is well-coordinated with specific engagement areas to prevent, as much as possible, civilians from being affected and harmed. (SunStar Philippines)