From the Philippine Star (Jul 28, 2019): Manhunt on for foreign BIFF bombers
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — The military has continued a manhunt for a group of militants, including six foreign bomb experts, tagged in recent attacks in central Mindanao.
The Army’s 6th Infantry Division and the police yesterday intensified security in the region to prevent the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) from launching attacks in retaliation for the deaths of six bandits in an encounter in Shariff Saidona Mustapha town.
Two of the bomb experts were said to be from Middle Eastern countries, while the rest are Malaysians and Indonesians, according to barangay leaders in the adjoining North Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces.
More than 300 families have been forced to relocate for fear of being caught in the crossfire.
The BIFF, which had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terror group, is known for planting and detonating improvised explosive devices in public areas.
Municipal peace and order councils in Maguindanao and North Cotabato yesterday confirmed that at least six bandits were killed in skirmishes that started on Thursday.
Four of the fatalities were identified only as Oman, Andok, Taleng and Kasim, all followers of Abu Toraife or Abdulmalik Esmael in real life, the leader of one of three BIFF factions.
An Army Ranger, Sgt. Ahmad Mahmood, was killed in the firefight.