BIFF confirms clash with gov’t troops in Basilan

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/13 September) – An official of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) confirmed Thursday night their forces engaged government troops in a clash in Basilan earlier on the same day.

BIFF spokesperson Abu Bisry Mama told MindaNews on the phone that the skirmish occurred in Barangay Colonia, Lamitan City in Basilan.

Mama said their forces in Basilan are led by one Commander Nor.

He added they were not sure though if MNLF fighters fought alongside the BIFF members.

On Thursday, authorities said members of the MNLF under Nur Misuari, BIFF and the Abu Sayyaf fought together against soldiers and police personnel in Lamitan.

Military reports said the BIFF members who figured in the clash are headed by Basir Kasaran and Nurhassan Jamiri.

Misry admitted Kasaran and Jamiri are their members.

The Mindanao Human Rights Action Center said four civilians were caught in the crossfire in the Lamitan skirmish. One of the victims died in a local hospital, and one was still in critical condition.

While one member of CVO and three members of rebel were monitored as fatalities, according to a military report.

The clash in Basilan occurred on the fourth day of the standoff between MNLF members and government forces in Zamboanga City that has displaced at least 13,000 residents.

Meanwhile, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao officials raised a white code alert after a conference yesterday to assess a possible spillover of the Zamboanga incident owing to the presence of MNLF forces in the region.

The ARMM has donated some 12,000 relief packs for the evacuees in Zamboanga City. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)