Saturday, August 18, 2018

BIFF running out of guns, uses IED vs. military: Army general

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 18): BIFF running out of guns, uses IED vs. military: Army general

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Running out of firearms and ammunition, the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Maguindanao has resorted to roadside bombings and planting of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in fighting government forces.

This was according to Brigadier Gen. Diosdado Carreon, commander of the Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade based in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, who added that BIFF's "heavy losses" has led the terror group to resort to bombing activities.

Carreon noted the heavy presence of BIFF in the so-called “SPMS box,” referring to the Maguindanao’s adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi Ampatuan), Mamasapano and Sharif Saydona, where intensified military operations are currently focused.

At least 50 BIFF have been killed in air, ground and marshland assaults by Task Force Central, the military-led unit out to neutralize the BIFF, over the past two months within the SPMS box, the military said.

“At least three BIFF factions are operating within the SPMS box,” Capt. Arvin John Encinas, Army’s 6th Infantry Division spokesman, referring to the terror groups of Abu Toraife, Imam Bongos, and Kagui Karialan.

Carreon said the IED recovered by police and Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion last Aug. 8 from slain suspected bombers in M’lang, North Cotabato, were assembled in the SPMS box.

“We will do our best to contain the BIFF in the SPMS box so they cannot carry out bombings in other parts of Maguindanao and North Cotabato,” Carreon said, adding that public support is necessary for their ongoing mission to neutralize the terror group.

On Sunday, the Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion recovered four high-powered firearms, 14 improvised bombs and bomb components from a safe house abandoned by the rebels following a brief firefight with infantrymen. A day earlier, four IEDs were detonated by Army bomb experts in Shariff Aguak.

The IEDs were intended for military convoy regularly passing the Cotabato-General Santos highway. Carreon said defeating BIFF will entail the continued support of the local residents who provide valuable information.

He cited the incident in Barangay Malangog, Datu Unsay, Maguindanao, where residents alerted the military about the presence of the BIFF–Bongos faction in Barangay Malangog.

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, 6th ID commander, lauded the civilians for the "well-timed sharing of information to police and military authorities."

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