Saturday Jul, 02 2022 07:10:22 PM

BIFF, Dawlah members, NPAs surrender to 6th ID together

Mindanao Peace Process • 18:45 PM Sat Mar 19, 2022
John M. Unson
A cleric leads violent extremists in pledging over the Qur’an to reform for good. (John Unson)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao - More than 70 enemies of state, among them six Dawlah Islamiya bomb-makers and 31 New People’s Army guerillas, surrendered to the Army’s 6th Infantry Division Friday.

Major Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of 6th ID, said during the event that credit for their surrender should go to local executives and peace activists who helped units of the division convince them to return to the fold of law.

The group is comprised of 38 members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, six followers of Dawlah Islamiya terror group leader Abu Toraife, and 31 NPAs from the adjoining Lebak and Kalamansig towns in Sultan Kudarat.

The leader of the BIFF members who pledged allegiance to the government together at a function facility in this Army camp also swore over the Qur’an, before Army officials and reporters, to keep their promise of absolute turnaround from religious extremism.

The allies BIFF and Dawlah Islamiya terror groups were together tagged in all deadly bombings in central Mindanao in recent years. Both groups are using the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as their banner.

Uy said he is grateful to the couple provincial governors Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu and Suharto Mangudadatu of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat, respectively, for their programs meant to return enemies of state to the local communities.

Units of 6th ID had secured the surrender of more than 300 BIFF and Dawlah Islamiya members in the past 16 months, now being reintroduced to mainstream society by the division and the provincial governments of Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao.

There is BIFF and Dawlah Islamiya presence in Maguindanao that its provincial government, the 6th ID and the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region are together trying to address via a backchannel peace effort, according to Uy.

Friday’s surrender of 31 NPAs here was jointly facilitated by local officials in Lebak and Kalamansig and Army officials led by Brig. Gen. Eduardo Gubat, commander of the 603rd Infantry Brigade.

Gubat and Uy had earlier secured the surrender since 2020, via backdoor intercession, of more than a hundred NPAs in Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani provinces. 

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