From GMA News Online (Dec 20): 5 BIFF members slain in military airstrike in Cotabato
Five suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were killed in a military airstrike in Carmen, Cotabato on Tuesday.
Captain Arvin Encinas, spokesperson of the Army's 6th Infantry Division, said troops encountered at least 10 BIFF members in Sitio Misalan, Barangay Tonganon at around 2:30 a.m.
Encinas said an airstrike was launched after the clash, where five soldiers were injured.
At noon, he said they received information that five BIFF were killed in the airstike.
Encinas said two of the slain BIFF members have been buried in a Muslim cemetery near a mosque in sitio Misalan and the three other bandits' bodies were taken by their relatives.
He said the predawn clash happened as troops were conducting an operation against BIFF leader Esmael Abdulmalik, alias Commander Toraife.
The military has yet to confirm if Toraife was with his men during the clash and the airstrike.
Clearing operations are ongoing at the site.