9 BIFF members killed in New Year’s Day clash – Army

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/03 Jan.) — Nine members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters were killed on New Year’s Day in a gunfight with government troops in the Pulangi marshland between North Cotabato and Maguindanao, a military report said.

Capt. Tony Bulao, spokesperson of 602nd Infantry Brigade said the firefight started when the rebels harassed government positions on the night of Dec. 31.

The encounters, which lasted until Thursday, occurred in parts of Pikit, Midsayap and Aleosan towns in North Cotabato.

The military report said the BIFF suffered its first two casualties on the morning of Jan. 1 in Sitio Mapagkaya, Barangay Paidu Pulangi in Pikit, in an encounter against troops from the 7th Infantry Battalion and 5th Special Forces.

The rebels were said to under certain Kumander Endeg and were residents of Guindulungan, Maguindanao.

Seven other BIFF members were killed also in Mapagkaya when the military fired 105mm howitzers and 81mm mortars Thursday afternoon.

“The attempted to get closer to the highway but our troops blocked them. We have information they wanted to initiate extortion activities”, Bulao said.

But in a text message BIFF spokesperson Abu Misry Mama denied there were casualties on their side.

He even boasted that they captured four military positions, and warned they will launch more attacks anytime.

Bulao said the positions that Mama mentioned were just temporary ones and had long been abandoned by government forces. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)