COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 01 January) — The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked three Army detachments in Maguindanao on New Year’s eve but no one was injured as the soldiers managed to fire back, Capt. Jo-ann D. Petinglay, Chief of the Public Affairs Office of the 6th Infantry Division, said.
Petinglay said the BIFF first harassed a detachment in Datu Piang, Maguindanao using an M203 grenade launcher, its bullet landing about 50 meters from the Kaungan Detachment of a Mechanized Infantry Company.
At 9:30 in the evening, an estimated 30 BIFF harassed Timbangan Detachment of the 34th IB in Brgy Timbangan, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao. An hour later, the BIFF attacked the Linantangan Detachment of the 40IB, 6ID, PA located in Brgy Linantangan, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao.
Petinglay said the soldiers engaged the lawless element, prompting the BIFF to withdraw.
“Members of the communities reported that withdrawing BIFF carried with them about five to six dead bodies and a massive number of wounded,” the 6th ID’s press release said.
Lt. Col. Edgar Delos Reyes, commander of the 34th IB, said they managed to drive the BIFF away.
While the BIFF attacks were going on, another firefight was monitored in the area of the 40th IB in Sultan Sa Barongis, Maguindanao when two local commanders from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s 105thbase command clashed due to rido or clan feud.
The firefight lasted until the wee hours of the morning and resumed at around 6 a.m.
“We are thankful that immediately, peacekeepers from the MILF immediately intervened this morning that resulted to the ceasefire,” said Col. Joel Mamon, commanding officer of the 40th IB.
Col. Lito Sobejana, the newly-installed Brigade Commander of 601st Brigade visited the frontlines to check the situation of his troops.
“We are happy not one from them got hurt. We thank the people who prayed for us,” Sobejana said in a telephone interview.
Meanwhile in Matalam, North Cotabato, troops of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) headed by Kamid Mangadta alyas Kumander Dragon were reportedly attacked by fully armed men of Barangay Kagawad Kepig Imbong of the MILF’s 108th base command in Barangay Kidama, Matalam, North Cotabato yesterday morning.
Hundreds were forced to flee to evacuation sites as local peace monitors were sent to the area to settle the conflict. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)