Soldiers capture 6 fanatical BIFF militants in Maguindanao

Mindanao Armed Conflict  • Wed Jul 5, 2017 03:51 PM  •  165   0
By John Unson
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Lt. Colonel Harold Cabunoc, 33rd IB commander briefs his men prior to skirmishes with BIFF in Maguindanao.
Lt. Colonel Harold Cabunoc, 33rd IB commander briefs his men prior to skirmishes with BIFF in Maguindanao.
MAGUINDANAO --  Soldiers arrested after a brief encounter Wednesday six outcast Islamic militants preaching a radically violent kind of Islam in Datu Paglas town.  

Bastun Baguil, Mulawan Lagala, Agila Yusoph, Muslimin Lumenda, Macalam Salabah, and Delamex Lumnah are now in the joint custody of the Datu Paglas municipal police and the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (33rd IB).  

They were arrested after a brief encounter early Wednesday with personnel of the 33rd IB, led by Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, in Barangay Mangadeg in Datu Paglas town in Maguindanao.  

The five militants have confessed to their being members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which uses the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as its banner.  

Cabunoc said they learned of the presence of the five militants in Barangay Mangadeg from local officials and community leaders, who even led them to their hideout.  

They immediately turned themselves in and yielded two .50 caliber Barret sniping rifles, an M60 machinegun, a launcher for B-40 anti-tank rockets, an M14 rifle and an M16 rifle when they sensed that soldiers have surrounded their hideout.  

Cabunoc said they are thankful to local officials in Datu Paglas for providing them vital information that hastened the arrest of the five men.  

The BIFF, which is harboring wanted foreign jihadists, splintered from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in late 2010.  

Cabunoc said their operation that resulted in the capture of the five BIFF gunmen was coordinated with local commanders of the MILF.  

There is an interim security pact between the government and the MILF, the July 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities, binding both sides to mutually cooperate in neutralizing criminals and terrorists operating in far-flung areas.  

The BIFF, led by radical clerics claiming allegiance to ISIS, is espousing hatred to Christian and moderate Muslims.
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