JOINT military and police forces have arrested an alleged member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom fighter (BIFF) and seized high-powered firearms in a law enforcement operation in North Cotabato, officials said Saturday.
Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Lutera, Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion commander, said the firearms that belong to BIFF were recovered around 6 a.m. Saturday in Nabalawag village, Midsayap, this province.
“We were moving toward a reported lair of the BIFF when we noticed two men ran in the back portion of the house towards the river,” Lutera said.
“Our soldiers were able to catch up and saw that the two persons are about to board a motorized banca and upon further search, found the high-powered firearms and materiel,” he said.
The military official said one of the two was arrested and was placed under debriefing. The identity of the suspect was withheld.
He said the firearms that were recovered were the following: three caliber .30 M1 Garand rifles; one caliber 5.56-mm M-16 Armalite ; two caliber 7.62-mm M-14 rifle; one home-made caliber .50 Barret rifle; and, various magazines and ammunition.
Brigadier General Arnel Dela Vega, Joint Task Force Central commander, said recovered together with the war materiel were four identification cards (IDs) belonging to a certain Tong Asilon Salem and several fatigue uniforms.
Dela Vega said Asilan is a known sub-leader under the BIFF Karialan faction.
“We strongly believe that the seized items, belong to the sub-group given the fact that four of Asilan’s IDs were also seen in the area,” he said.
He said that troops were deployed to track down the whereabouts of the other alleged BIFF member who eluded arrest. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)