Police and military forces in the province of Maguindanao have been placed on heightened alert after outlawed Moro armed group harassed Army and PNP detachments in nearby Datu Unsay town.
“We need to be proactive as the armed men continue to create noise to make they are still a force to reckon with,” Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director, told reporters after a police officer and two soldiers were injured when the ISIS inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters simultaneously attacked the police station and two Army detachments.
Tello said PO1 Usman Datuan of Datu Unsay municipal police office, is now recuperating in a hospital from bullet injuries he sustained during the Saturday night harassment by the BIFF.
Tello said members of the outlawed BIFF came close to the police station in Datu Unsay and opened fire, triggering a brief firefight at past 7 p.m.
Although outnumbered, the police officers returned fire on the BIFF who were forced to flee when soldiers of a nearby detachment came responding.
Another group of ISIS inspired BIFF also attacked with rifle grenades an Army base located near the town hall.
Two soldiers belonging to the 21st Mechanized Company suffered shrapnel injuries after a rifle grenade landed in the detachment. A 20-minute firefight ensued until the militants fled.
Tello could not say if the BIFF suffered casualties following the artillery fire from government forces.
Police believed the attack was meant to avenge the death of six BIFF after it clashed with joint government forces and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in nearby Shariff Saydona town.
Tello said the Maguindanao police have augmented its forces in towns vulnerable to harassment by BIFF. These are the towns of Mamasapano, Shariff Aguak, Datu Salibo, Datu Unsay, Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Datu Piang.
The Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion also beefed up its forces to thwart attacks by BIFF forces which, an Army official said, want to make its presence felt anew in Maguindanao.