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1 BIFF killed in clash with Army in Maguindanao

 • 20:10 PM Wed Sep 30, 2015
Nash B. Maulana
Government forces pursuing BIFF bandits in Maguindanao. (file)

COTABATO CITY— Government forces clashed Wednesday morning with guerrillas of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Datu Piang, Maguindanao, residents said.The military has reported no casualty on its side, but a spokesperson for the Army in Maguindanao said the BIFF suffered at least one fatality in a 30-minute firefight.Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division here, said the encounter took place at about 6and00 a.m. in Barangay Mayanis, when the BIFF guerrillas fired at the patrolling Army personnel to secure a school premises nearby.Petinglay said the government troops had recovered in the area live rounds of 60-mm. mortar ammunition, which is often used in manufacturing improvised explosive devices (IED).Fleeing residents said they learned of alleged involvement of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), purportedly on mission to serve a Department of Justice-issued summon against a local commander charged in relation to the Mamasapano killings last February 27.However, Petinglay said there was no PNP-SAF unit involved in the clash, but only Philippine Army soldiers led by Col. Lemet of the 2nd Mechanized Battalion, under the 22nd Mechanized Brigade.Petinglay said the Army troopers were not supposed to serve summons, either, but that they were on usual patrolling routine, when fired upon by BIFF guerrillas.Village officials said government troopers ceased firing in less than an hour, apparently to give way to residents rushing to leave the village, amid heavy exchanges of fire. They said civilians feared a possible repeat of the bloody Mamasapano incident, because BIFF guerrillas were apparently wary over reports a number of its men were to answer charges of multiple murder, homicide and robbery in connection with the bloody Mamasapano incident, in which 44 PNP-SAF members were killed.

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