AFP validating reports 20 BIFF killed in Maguindanao air, ground assaults

Mindanao Armed Conflict  • Tue May 9, 2017 05:32 PM  •  205   0
By Edwin O. Fernandez
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From a distance. Members of Army Advance Observer Unit assess the village of Tee, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao, site of Army's aerial and ground assaults vs. BIFF. (Ferdinandh Cabrera)
From a distance. Members of Army Advance Observer Unit assess the village of Tee, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao, site of Army's aerial and ground assaults vs. BIFF. (Ferdinandh Cabrera)
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao  – The military is validating and confirming reports that about 20 members of outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters have been killed in three-day and three-nights military sporadic aerial and artillery attacks in Maguindanao.  

Capt. John Arvin Encinas, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said the report about number casualties on the BIFF side was based on information provided by civilian leaders in Barangay Tee, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.
 

Over the weekend, the Army launched surgical aerial assaults on BIFF stronghold in the village of Tee after intelligence reports said the BIFF were massing toward a military detachment in Barangay Gadong, also in Datu Salibo.  

At night, the military’s artillery units fired howitzers toward the village of Tee.  

“We have no body count (of slain BIFF), we are validating reports from civilians and local officials that no less than 20 BIFF were killed,” Encinas said.  

Abu Misri Mama, BIFF spokesperson, admitted only one BIFF sub-leader, identified as Commander Khalid, was killed.  Khalid is the nephew of Ismael Abubakar alias Commander Bungos, currently the BIFF chieftain.
 

“That’s too much,” was Mama’s reaction to reports 20 of his colleagues were killed. “The Army cannot wipe out us, we have many members all over the province,” he added.  

Since the bombardment started Saturday, at least four roadside bombings have taken place as part of the BIFF’s diversionary tactics, according to Encinas.   The latest was Tuesday morning that left four police officers injured.  

An armored personnel carrier (APC) was paralyzed when an IED exploded in Barangay Gadong on Saturday night. 

The Simba APC was one of the two armored vehicle escorting soldiers sent to reinforced government forces in a detachment.
 

Seven soldiers were injured in roadside bombings.  The second IED blast occurred in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao, few kilometers from Datu Salibo and the third was in the national highway bordering Datu Hofer and Datu Abdulla Sangki, both in Maguindanao.
 

The IED was set off just as a military convoy of two KM-450 military trucks from 57th Infantry Battalion was passing by.  Nobody was hurt. (Edwin O. Fernandez)
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