SOME 20 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) passed through Datu Paglas town in Maguindanao, fired shots in the air and left behind improvised explosive devices (IEDs) Saturday, May 8, 2021.
Reports that they took some hostages, and occupied the market and municipal hall are false, said Major General Juvymax Uy, commander of the Philippine Army 6th Infantry Division.
By 10:30 a.m. Saturday, security forces have cleared the national highway and reopened this to the public.
Uy said the extremists passed through the town before dawn Saturday, apparently looking for food.
“Hindi in-occupy ang market, dumaan lang, naghanap ng pagkain. Habang pa-withdraw nagpaputok, kaya wala kang makitang signs na may tinamaan, nagpaputok pataas, wala silang tinarget,” he said.
“Wala ring nangyaring hostage-taking na mga sinasabi ng karamihan sa social media, so almost five hours na. The situation is manageable, under control, on top of the situation, pero pursuit operation is going on,” he added.
A firefight ensued between the group and military, which lasted for 15 to 30 minutes.
He said a witness related that the extremists were carrying four wounded comrades as they withdrew.
“Civilian walang casualty, walang property na na-damage, ang military walang casualty, pero based dito sa civilian sa area, nandito man ako, may apat na binubuhat (from the BIFF side). Hindi namin, hindi ko ma-ascertain but definitely may tinamaan,” Uy said.
Brigadier General Roy Galido, commander of 601st Infantry Brigade, said the BIFF Karialan faction has been the target of military operation.
Galido said four IEDs were recovered along the path taken by the BIFF fighters. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo / SunStar Philippines)