TACURONG CITY (MindaNews/05 January) – Government forces on Monday launched a massive military operation against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the marshy area between the border of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces.
Lt.Col. Markton Abu, commanding officer of 33rd Infantry Battalion described the offensive as “clearing operation” saying they received information the BIFF threatened to attack civilians.
Abu said the group was poised to attack farmers now that harvest time is coming like it allegedly di in the past.
Last January 3, BIFF rebels simultaneously attacked a detachment in Barangay Kulasi in General Salipada K. Pendatun town in Maguindanao and Sumilalao detachment in Barangay Katiku, President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat province. One soldier was killed and three others were wounded in the attack.
BIFF spokesman Abu Misry Mama said the military fired dozens of howitzers, but added they did not engage the soldiers and remained in defensive positions.
He admitted however that they launched attacks and liquidation of military personnel in the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato.
Maj. General Edmundo Pangilinan, commanding general of the 6th Infantry Division has called on the civilian communities to give information on the location and activities of the BIFF in order to preempt the “atrocities” of the group.
He called the BIFF “spoilers of peace in Mindanao”.
The BIFF, which had declared an alliance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has been accused by police and military authorities as having staged some bombings in Mindanao.
In 2014, nine improvised bombs exploded in various parts of Mindanao killing 15 persons and injuring at least 120 others.
The BIFF however denied any involvement in those incidents. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)