BIFF armaments seized as hunt for `Bongos' continue

Mindanao Armed Conflict  • Thu May 11, 2017 05:18 PM  •  151   0
By John Unson
  • Your Reaction:
  • Bida
  • Kontra Bida
  • Happy
  • Unhappy
Firearms recovered from the BIFF in recent military operations in Maguindanao. (JOHN UNSON)
Firearms recovered from the BIFF in recent military operations in Maguindanao. (JOHN UNSON)
MAGUINDANAO --- Soldiers recovered 40 firearms and 18 home-made bombs in camps of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in continuing crackdown since late January.

Major Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said Thursday dozens more of improvised explosive devices, planted along isolated stretches of highways in different towns in Maguindanao, have also been promptly deactivated by bomb disposal teams during the period.

Army units and BIFF forces figured in intermittent clashes the past five days in Datu Salibo town in Maguindanao, where government forces are trying to neutralize a group of militants led by Ismael Abubakar.
Abubakar, a foreign-trained Islamic missionary, helped establish the BIFF in 2010. He is reportedly coddling six foreign terrorists who are experts in fabricating IEDs.

Abubakar, also known as “Bongos,” leads one of three factions in the BIFF, which all boasts of loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Local officials in Datu Salibo and nearby towns said 11 more followers of Abubakar were killed in a series of encounters with pursuing soldiers from between Monday until late Wednesday.

The sources identified nine of the 11 BIFF fatalities as Zaman, Pulo, Omar, Sajid, Muktar, Bantas, Odin, Tasil and Abdullah, who died from multiple gunshot wounds sustained in gunfights with units of 6th ID.

No automatic alt text available
“We got tips from officials of different local government units that 11 more BIFF members were indeed killed in the latest encounters in Maguindanao,” Dela Vega told reporters Thursday.

Barangay leaders and elected officials in Maguindanao’s Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi, Shariff Saidona, Datu Piang and Shariff Aguak towns confirmed to reporters early this week that 20 followers of Abubakar perished in firefights with soldiers last weekend until late Sunday.

“One of the fatalities is Khalid, a senior BIFF leader and a trusted henchman of Bongos," a local official told reporters Tuesday.

Dela Vega said they have confirmation on the demise of Khalid from confidential informants, among them barangay officials helping monitor the enforcement of the ceasefire accord between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation (MILF).

“MILF commanders in areas where our units are running after Abubakar are cooperating with us,” Dela Vega said.

The government and the MILF are bound by a ceasefire accord to mutually cooperate in addressing peace and security issues in conflict flashpoint areas.

The BIFF, which splintered from the MILF six years ago, is not covered by the interim truce, crafted by rebel and government negotiators in July 1997.
  • Your Reaction:
  • Bida
  • Kontra Bida
  • Happy
  • Unhappy