From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 21): BIFF men harass Army camps
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attempted but failed to over-run two Army detachments in Datu Salibo and Shariff Aguak towns in Maguindanao, the military said Friday.
But Capt. Arvin John Encinas, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, citing reports from the field, said Army soldiers were already aware of BIFF’s plot to harass their positions in Maguindanao on Thursday night.
A platoon from the Army’s 57th IB, was already in an ambush position after sighting about 100 meters away BIFF members slowly approaching the Army base at past 9 p.m.
The BIFF armed men were moving towards the direction of Bagong Patrol Base in Barangay Bagong in Shariff Aguak.
Even before the attackers could fire the first shot, the military opened fire toward the visibly surprised lawless elements. A 15-minute firefight ensued then the bandits fled to unknown direction.
No casualty on the government side and Encinas could not say if the BIFF sustained injuries or fatalities.
Two hours earlier, another band of BIFF composed of about 20 men with high powered guns and led by Commander Abusaiden, attacked the Cowboy Bravo Company detachment of 57th IB in Barangay Pagatin and company command post in Barangay Sambolawan, both in Datu Salibo.
Encinas said the soldiers were also aware of the BIFF movement and sighted them about 300 meters away.
The Army requested for indirect artillery fire toward enemy position, forcing them to flee.
Due to massive military operations against the BIFF in the so called “SPMS Box” (the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi) Mamasapano and Salibo), the BIFF wanted to make its presence felt thus the harassment, Encinas said.
Encinas said the Army expects more desperate attempts from BIFF to get back at government forces.
Abu Misry Mama, speaking for a faction of the BIFF, admitted his group was behind the attempt to over-run Army base.