Friday, April 17, 2015

5 soldiers slightly hurt in BIFF attacks in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 17): 5 soldiers slightly hurt in BIFF attacks in Maguindanao

Remnants of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), now under the leadership of a more radical guerilla, harassed two military detachments in Maguindanao on Thursday night and Friday dawn, leaving five soldiers slightly wounded, the military said.

The BIFF fired rifle grenades toward the detachment of 2nd Mechanized Infantry battalion in Barangay Magaslong, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao at 10 p.m., Capt. Joann Petinglay, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said.

“They were remnants of the BIFF who wanted to get back at us," Petinglay said.

She said the attackers who launched the offensives under cover of darkness immediately fled when the Army returned fire using cal. 30 machine guns.

At about 4 a.m., another band of BIFF guerrillas fired rifle grenades toward another Army detachment in nearby Barangay Sambolawan, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.

Nobody was hurt in the dawn attack.

Petinglay could not say if the attackers suffered fatalities when the military returned fire.

But Abu Misry Mama, the BIFF spokesperson, claimed six soldiers were killed and an armored personnel carrier was destroyed during the attacks.

Petinglay laughed off Mama's claim, describing it as hallucination.

On Wednesday night, suspected BIFF harassed the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Datu Saudi Ampatuan in Maguindanao.

The BIFF offensive came three days after BIFF founding chair Ameril Umra Kato died of cardiac arrest Tuesday. His deputy, Sheik Ismael Abubakar alias Commander Bungos, a more radical rebel leader, assumed as new BIFF chair.

The military’s law enforcement operations against the BIFF, which began on February 27, was terminated on March 30 on orders of AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang.

But the Army said small scale and surgical operations continue as there were still remnants of the BIFF in the so called ‘SPMS Square,’ which refers to the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Saudi Ampatuan), Mamasapano and Shariff Saydona, all in Maguindanao where the BIFF use to have camps and control.

The Army claimed to have killed 151 BIFF while the government side suffered 10 fatalities during the month-long all out offensives that displaced 120,000 individuals in Maguindanao.

About 50,000 individuals remained in various evacuation sites while majority have returned home.

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