Monday, July 6, 2015

Gov't forces hunt down BIFF hitmen in murder of unarmed soldier

From the Philippine News Agency  (Jul 6): Gov't forces hunt down BIFF hitmen in murder of unarmed soldier

Police and military and authorities here have launched manhunt against suspected hitmen of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who liquidated anew an off duty soldier in Datu Hofer town in Maguindanao Sunday.

Capt. Joan Petinglay, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, said covert operations are still on going to bring the suspects before the bar of justice.

Two elements of the BIFF executed Sunday afternoon an off duty soldier at past 4 p.m. in Datu Hofer, Maguindanao,

It was the fifth attack against government forces in Maguindanao.

The Army spokesperson refused to give details of the operation but stressed it was meant to "put a stop" to the atrocities carried out by BIFF in Maguindanao's second district.

Petinglay identified the latest victim of BIFF "hit and run" tactics as Corporal Saturnino Saragena of the Army’s 38th Infantry Battalion.

Saragena, according to Petinglay, went to the market place unarmed and in civilian clothes to buy his group’s dinner when attacked by gunmen armed with 9mm pistols.

With the series of attacks against government forces in Maguindanao, Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, 6th ID chief, directed field commanders to institute preventive measures, like prohibiting soldiers from roaming or travelling alone.

“Our division commander has directed field commanders to prevent soldiers from travelling or doing marketing chores in high risk areas alone and unarmed," she said.

Abu Misri Mama, speaking for the BIFF, was quick to admit his group was behind the attack, saying “government forces are our enemies.”

Saragena was declared dead on arrival at Maguindanao provincial hospital.

He was a cadre-in-charge of a para-military detachment in Datu Hofer, a known stronghold of BIFF.

A week ago, BIFF also liquidated two unarmed soldiers working for the rehabilitation of a school in Datu Unsay, Maguindanao. They were on board a motorbike carrying carpentry tools when ambushed by BIFF.

Before that, suspected BIFF also killed a member of the Army mechanized battalion out on marketing in Barangay Magaslong, Datu Piang, Maguindanao. His companions were wounded in the mid-afternoon attack.

Two weeks ago, BIFF was blamed in the ambush of two men, one of whom was a police officer, who were just passing by in Datu Salibo town in Maguindanao on board a Toyota van.

In June, BIFF bandits killed Police Officer 1 Habib Narciso, and wounded another, PO1 Abdullah Hashim in Datu Saudi municipality. The two were on board together on a motorbike when shot by armed men riding on a separate motorbike.

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