Soldiers thwart BIFF attack in Maguindanao

DATU SAUDI AMPATUAN, Maguindanao – Army soldiers repulsed on Sunday night an attack by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in a remote village here, a military official said.

Elements of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion were conducting patrol in Barangay Kabingi, a known area of BIFF, when the rebels struck.

As the soldiers moved into fighting positions, an improvised explosive device went off followed by gunfire from two directions, 1Lt Emmanuel Ferrer, Army team leaders said.

Ferrer said a 20-minute gunfight ensued, adding the Army did not sustain casualties. He could not say if the BIFF suffered losses.

He said that before 8 p.m., soldiers backed by an armored personnel carrier went to Kabingi following reports from villagers that about 20 heavily armed men were massing in the area.

He said the rebels fled under cover of darkness. Soldiers pursued them but Ferrer told his men not to press as there could be booby traps.

Soldiers led by Lt. Colonel Warlito Limet, 2nd Mechanized Brigade commander, found a box with an improvised bomb along the rebels’ escape route. Army bomb experts defused the bomb Monday morning.

Limet said that before the attacks Army intelligence agents learned of an impending harassment by the BIFF in the so called SPMS box.

SPMS refers to the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi), Mamasapano and Shariff Saydona, a known bailiwick of the BIFF where government forces have detachments, command posts and checkpoints.

Limet said Sunday night’s attack was led by “Kagi Tatang”. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)