BIFF commander arrested, son killed in Cotabato City operations

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 10 Feb) – A highranking commander of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was arrested while his son, believed to be his security escort, was killed in a joint law enforcement operation by the police and the military in Barangay Mother Kalanganan here late Tuesday night.

William Santos, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (CIDG-ARMM), said the raid was swiftly initiated in an eight-minute arrest execution of the suspect despite resistance from his buddy.

The body of his son was brought to a local funeral parlor for finger printing and data processing “since we cannot conduct SOCO [Scene of the Crime Operations] in the area on security issues,” Santos said.

Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, identified the captured rebel leader as Hassan Indal, alyas Abu Hazam. He is the vice chairman of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement’s (BIFM) internal affairs unit and commander of the 4th Division of the BIFF, the armed wing of BIFM.


Indal at the CIDG-ARMM. Photo courtesy of CIDG-ARMM

Lt. Col. Rannie Sevilla, commander of the 5th Special Forces whose team backed up the raiding policemen, described the security escort as a “young indoctrinated rebel fighter willing to die.”

Recovered during the operation include one M16 rifle, a caliber .45 pistol and a fragmentation grenade.

Indal has a standing arrest warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Judge George Jabido for murder and frustrated murder cases.

BIFF spokesperson Abu Misry Mama confirmed the apprehension of their vice chairman.

“Indal has been hiding in Cotabato City while being treated for his diabetes,” Mama said.

But the military believed Indal was hiding in Cotabato City in order to avoid the ongoing skirmishes between his men and the pursuing government forces after the rebel group attacked a dredging project in Datu Salibu, Maguindanao secured by military personnel. The gun battle is now on its fifth day.

Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, lauds the help of the informant who had provided the whereabouts of the BIFF leader.

“This is an accomplishment not only by the security forces but the entire community because Indal’s group continuously sows terror on civilians by attacking them and planting improvised explosives,” he said.

Meanwhile, a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross visited Indal this morning to ensure that proper treatment of the detainee is being observed by the arresting agency.