Friday, September 29, 2017

BIFF executes 4 members for disloyalty

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 29): BIFF executes 4 members for disloyalty

Four members of an ISIS-inspired terrorist group in Maguindanao were executed by its commanders after they were found conniving with the rival Moro armed group and the military, the Army here said Friday.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, chief of the Army's 6th Infantry Division Civil Military Operations (CMO) Battalion, said the four Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) members were followers of Ustadz Esmael Abdulmalik whose group pledged allegiance to the ISIS.

The execution, according to Besana, came after joint Army and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) recovered the BIFF stronghold in Barangay Tee, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao following several days of artillery and air strikes from the Philippine military.

Major Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commander of the 6th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Central, said the BIFF camp, where the Esmael Abdulmalik faction has been hiding since last month, was captured Wednesday afternoon. It was located iat sitio Dagaring, Barangay Tee, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.

At the camp, dela Vega said in statement that elements of the 57th Infantry Battalion recovered the body of a slain BIFF fighter, four improvised explosive devices, two M-14 rifles, an M-16 Armalite rifle and ISIS flags when troops set in at past 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The slain BIFF member was later identified by villagers as Ansari Alimama, a Maranao from Butig town in Lanao del Sur and believed to be allied with the Maute terrorist group, according to Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director.

Barangay Tee had been the object of occasional air strikes when the MILF provided the information to the Army about the BIFF Abdulmalik faction’s location.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, spokesperson for Task Force Central, said the Army is verifying reports from the locals that four BIFF members were executed by Abdulmalik on suspicion that they were providing the Army and the MILF their location through text messages.
“The barangay and local leaders have been providing us information about it and we are validating it,” Besana said.

He could not say where the cadaver of four slain BIFF members now, but their mobile phones can no longer be reached, according to information provided by the MILF.

Abdulmalik and his men of about 500 is the subject of MILF offensives after they tried, but failed, to raise ISIS flags in MILF identified areas in Barangay Tee and Barangay Andavit, Datu Salibo Maguindanao in early August.

He and his group pledged allegiance to the ISIS and military intelligence reports said several foreign terrorists were seen with his group.

Tello said in separate interview that his unit had received information about the execution of four BIFF members.

According to Tello, Alimama was a lieutenant of Omar and Abdullah Maute, founder of the ISIS-inspired Maute group now fighting government forces in Marawi.

“We have validated from our contacts in Lanao del Sur that this Alimama hailed from Butig,” Tello said.

Besana said surgical air strikes and artillery offensives against the BIFF have continued in the towns of Datu Salibo and adjacent towns of Datu Piang and Datu Saydona Mustapha against fleeing terrorists.

The MILF, which signed a peace deal with the government in 2014, is bound by the 1997 ceasefire agreement to help the Philippine military rid their communities of terrorists and lawless elements.

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