Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Army validating reports 20 BIFF killed in Maguindanao offensives

From the Philippine News Agency (May 9): Army validating reports 20 BIFF killed in Maguindanao offensives

The Army's 6th Infantry Division (ID) is validating reports that 20 members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have been killed during aerial and artillery attacks in Maguindanao, an official said Tuesday.

Capt. John Arvin Encinas, 6th ID spokesperson, said the number of BIFF fatalities was reported by civilians and village officials.

"We are verifying the reports. Our ground troops found, using binoculars, many dead BIFF fighters still in the bandits' stronghold. (But) we could not exactly say how many," Encinas told the Philippine News Agency.

Since Saturday, the Army launched surgical aerial and artillery attacks on a BIFF stronghold in Barangay Tee, Datu Salibo town, after intelligence reports said the bandits were massing towards a military detachment in the municipality.

"There were no civilian casualties because the airstrikes were surgical, selective," Encinas said.

He said that on the first day of the military offensive, civilians were told to leave their homes.

The local government units are attending to the needs of the displaced individuals, he added.

Abu b5g3v3  w Misri Mama, BIFF spokesperson, admitted that only one BIFF member was killed -- Commander Khalid, a sub-leader of the group. Khalid is the nephew of Ismael Abubakar alias Commander Bungos, currently the BIFF chieftain.

Since the bombardment started Saturday, at least four roadside bombings have taken place "as part of the BIFF’s diversionary tactics," according to Encinas.

The latest was Tuesday morning, which left four police officers injured.


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