2 soldiers killed in BIFF ambush

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao (MindaNews/22 June) – Two soldiers were killed in an attack staged by suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters on mid-afternoon Monday, the military said.

Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the 6th Army Division said the two soldiers had just reached the arc marking the boundary of this town when the attack took place.

Initial reports gathered by the military said the victims rode a motorcycle wearing athletic soldier’s attire to get more carpentry materials at their headquarters in Shariff Aguak town.

They were traveling from Datu Unsay town where they were doing rehabilitation work for a school.

But before the soldiers reached their destination assailants who were riding in tandem opened fire from behind using still unknown firearms. One was hit in the head and the other in the back.

The assailants snatched the motorcycle of the soldiers and fled towards the so-called SPMS box.

“SPMS box” refers to the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi), Mamasapano and Shariff Saydona, all in Maguindanao where the BIFF operates.

The soldiers meanwhile were rushed to the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital, but they were declared dead on arrival.

The military withheld the names of the victims pending notification of their families.

“It’s very unfortunate that these unarmed soldiers working for peace were killed in a treacherous way by the BIFF. They don’t even care for the future of the children in the area where these victims had dreamed also to uplift the education of the kids,” Petinglay in a statement.

Efforts were underway to rehabilitate Meta Elementary school in Datu Unsay after the school was damaged by fire, bullets and mortar explosions during the war against the BIFF last year.

Last week, the BIFF allegedly ambushed the 2nd Mechanized Battalion in Datu Piang town killing one soldier and wounding two others.

This was followed by another ambush of two persons aboard a sports utility vehicle killing two persons one of whom was wearing a police uniform.

Asked if the BIFF was behind these attacks, Abu Misry Mama, the group’s spokesperson replied via text message that “no other group now is fighting against the military, it is only the BIFF”. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)