From the Philippine Star (Jan 6): At least 20 rebels killed in Maguindanao: military
At least 20 members of a renegade Muslim rebel group were reportedly killed as government forces shelled and assaulted their training camp in Maguindanao, the military said today.
Jo-ann Petinglay, public affairs officer of the Army's 6th Infantry Division, said the military started delivering artillery rounds on the camp of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters ( BIFF) around 6:15 a.m Monday after learning its presence through intelligence tip.
She said the camp serves as the training base of BIFF members who attacked two military detachments in Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat last Saturday, leaving a soldier dead and three others wounded.
After the 30-minute shelling, Petinglay said combined soldiers and policemen moved in into the camp, home of the BIFF's 2nd Division. This ensued firefight with about 50 BIFF men that lasted for about two hours.
She said the BIFFs, under one Sukarno Sapal, alias Jok, withdrew after the fighting, dragging with them their 20 fatalities.
Petinglay said they did not recover any enemy body because it is the practice of the group to recover their dead for burial in keeping with Muslim religious tradition.
The BIFF has carried out many deadly attacks in a bid to disrupt the peace negotiations between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government.
The BIFF is the armed wing of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement which broke away from the MILF in 2010 as a result of disagreements over the conduct of peace talks with the government.