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BIFF gunmen kill another off duty soldier in Maguindanao

 • 14:30 PM Mon Jul 6, 2015
John Unson
Government forces give free hair cut to some residents of Datu Hofer in Maguindanao as part of the Army's outreach program in 2014. (Photo by John Unson)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao-- Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters shot dead another off duty soldier past 4and00 p.m. in Datu Hoffer town in Maguindanao on Sunday, the fifth attack in Maguindanao province since June. The fatality, Cpl. Saturnino Saragena of the 38thInfantry Battalion, was to buy fish at a roadside makeshift market in Barangay Labu-Labu southeast of Datu Hoffer when BIFF gunmen riding a motorcycle together blocked his path and repeatedly shot him with 9 millimeter pistols.Saragena was pronounced dead on arrival by attending physicians at a nearby hospital where he was rushed by responding policemen and barangay officials for medication.Saragena was cadre-in-charge of a detachment of a local unit of the Citizen’s Armed Forces Geographical Unit in Barangay Limpongo in Datu Hoffer, a known haven of radical BIFF forces.Army and police intelligence sources said the suspects behind Saragena’s murder belong to a 12-member liquidation gang” under the BIFF’s new chieftain, Imam Bongos, a foreign-trained cleric.Bongos took over the BIFF leadership in April following the demise of founder Imam Ameril Ombra, a preacher trained in Saudi Arabia, after a long bout with complicated debilitating illnesses that left half of his body paralyzed for two years until he passed away.The same group also killed two weeks ago two unarmed soldiers involved in a school building project in the nearby municipality of Datu Unsay, also in the second district of Maguindanao.The incident was preceded by the murder of a member of an Army mechanized unit while out on a marketing mission in Barangay Magaslong, Datu Piang.Two companions of the slain soldier, who were riding separate motorcycles carrying food supplies procured for their unit’s consumption, were wounded in the attack.BIFF bandits also shot with assault rifles a Toyota car while passing through a highway in Salibo town, killing its two passengers on the spot.Sunday’s gangland style execution of Saragena happened just five days after BIFF bandits killed a policeman, Police Officer 1 Habib Narciso, and wounded another, PO1 Abdullah Hashim in Datu Saudi municipality.The victims were riding a tricycle en route to the town proper of Datu Saudi from a roadside police detachment about three kilometers away when BIFF gunmen riding motorcycles attacked from behind.

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