5 MILF chasing BIFF hurt in Maguindanao blast

Mindanao Armed Conflict  • Sun Aug 6, 2017 04:37 PM  •  271   0
By John Unson
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An MILF guerilla wounded in a landmine blast in Datu Saudi town is now in a hospital along with seven injured companions.
An MILF guerilla wounded in a landmine blast in Datu Saudi town is now in a hospital along with seven injured companions.
MAGUINDANAO --- Five Moro guerillas were killed Sunday morning in a landmine blast while running after militants operating in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The fatalities belong to a group in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front operating against ISIS-inspired militants in the second district of Maguindanao since last week.
 
The slain guerillas and their companions were to surround members of a third faction in the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Barangay Andavit in Datu Saudi town when one of them stepped on a trip wire connected to an improvised explosive device, causing an explosion.

Four militants from the same group were killed in an encounter Wednesday with pursuing MILF guerillas in Barangay Pusaw in Sharif Saidona town also in Maguindanao.

Two MILF guerillas got wounded in the gunfight, now both confined at the Notre Dame Hospital in Cotabato City and are being assisted by the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana of the 6th Civil Military Operations Battalion, a component unit of 6th ID, said on Sunday that the five MILF guerillas killed by an IED are followers of Commander Asrap.

Asrap is one of MILF commanders under Task Force Ittihad (unity) now helping the police and the military neutralize BIFF bandits.

The MILF targeted on Wednesday a third bloc in the BIFF under Esmael Abdulmalik, trained in fabrication of EIDs by slain Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, most known as Marwan.

Abdulmalik and his men display the black ISIS flag when they roam around to recruit members and collect money from hapless peasant families in Maguindanao’s adjoining Datu Saudi, Shariff Saidona, Salibo, Mamasapano and Datu Piang towns.

The IED used against members of the MILF’s Task Force Ittihad was fashioned from explosive powders packed with pieces of construction support bars, bent nails and fragments of cast iron with jagged edges.

Six guerillas hurt in the landmine explosion were immediately rushed to a hospital by responding personnel of Army units based in nearby barangays.

They are now undergoing medication in a hospital in Cotabato City.

The outlawed BIFF was founded in 2010 by the late Imam Ameril Ombra Kato, who had studied Islamic theology in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s.

Kato started as a senior commander in the MILF, but bolted due to irreconcilable differences with its central committee.He then organized the BIFF, which is radically militant and whose pioneer members were former MILF guerillas booted out for insubordination and criminal offenses.

The BIFF claimed allegiance to ISIS more than two years ago.

All three factions in the BIFF are not covered by the July 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities between the government and the MILF.

The security pact obliges the government and the MILF to cooperate in addressing peace and security issues in potential conflict flashpoint areas in the south.

One BIFF faction, under Imam Karialan, said last week that it has cut its ties with the group of Abdulmalik.
Karialan’s group, in a statement, also emphasized that it is not hostile to other revolutionary organizations fighting for Moro cause either.

BIFF insiders said the hasty announcement was a propaganda ploy precipitated by apprehensions on the MILF’s anti-terror campaign in Maguindanao province.

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