Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hundreds displaced as AFP continues to engage BIFF bandits

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 16): Hundreds displaced as AFP continues to engage BIFF bandits

The ongoing conflict between government troops and members of the Bangsomoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has already displaced close to 300 families in Maguindanao province.

Reports reaching the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, said about 296 families or 1,480 individuals, have been displaced due to the armed conflict between Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) troops and BIFF forces within the boundaries of Datu Unsay and Shariff Aguak, in Maguindanao.

The military said the fighting took place at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and resulted in the death of 11 BIFF fighters and a 15-year-old female teenager, who was hit in the crossfire.

Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad, OCD Administrator and National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director, said those who were displaced came from Brgy. Meta, Datu Unsay, Maguindanao.

The displaced families, according to Jalad, are temporarily staying in Brgy. Malangog, Datu Unsay Terminal, and Sittio Star Apple.

“The families have built make-shift tents at Brgy. Malangog and Sittio Star Apple while other families seek shelter at the Datu Unsay terminal,” he said.

Jalad said that, as of 4 p.m. Thursday, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) Datu Unsay has already distributed 158 food packs which include rice, noodles and sardines.

The PDRRMC in Maguindanao, meanwhile, distributed 180 food packs to the affected residents.

Meanwhile, the office of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu has given an undisclosed amount of cash assistance to the parents of 15-year old Fatima Ilian, the girl killed in the crossfire when BIFF and military forces.

The AFP said that at least 11 members of the BIFF were killed while 19 others were wounded following intense firefight with government soldiers in Datu Unsay, Maguindanao, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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