AN IMPROVISED explosive device (IED) exploded at the safe house of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Sitio Butilen, Kabasalan village, Pikit, North Cotabato on Thursday, July 25, killing one rebel and injuring two others.
The explosion happened when a BIFF member accidentally tripped the IED while evading military troops in North Cotabato, said Major General Diosdado Carreon, Joint Task Force Central commander.
Killed in the explosion was Alimoden Masla's wife. Masla and his 10-year-old son were critically injured.
Carreon said Masla is a follower of BIFF key leader Abdul Haber Usman, alias Commander Edsgrapil, under Bungos's faction.
He said Edsgrafil and his cohorts secure, transport, and dispatch IEDs kept at their houses in Sitio Butilen, Barangay Kabasalan.
Their safe houses served as the launching point of bombings perpetrated by BIFF in North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat, posing an imminent threat to all residents in Central Mindanao and in nearby regions, said Carreon.
"Troops conducted early Thursday focused military operations to thwart hostile plans of BIFF and Abu Toraypie group in Barangay Dasawao, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao," he said.
"This alerted BIFF factions who thought they were being attacked by government forces in Kabasalan, Pikit, North Cotabato," Carreon said, adding that the rebels fled, resulting in the explosion.
He said the BIFFs plan to launch IED attacks in urban and populated areas in Central Mindanao.
Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said they will not allow terror groups like the BIFF to thrive in the area and terrorize the people of Central Mindanao.
"We will work hand in hand with other government agencies to maintain peace and security so that the Barmm (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) government can serve the people without interruption," Sobejana said.
"We will sustain our campaign to defeat peace spoilers and engage local leaders and the community in order to secure the coveted peace and development in the Barmm," he added. (SunStar Philippines)