DATU HOFER, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 07 May) — Suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) set off two separate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in two Maguindanaon towns as the military launched artillery attacks against Moro rebels Saturday and Sunday.
The first IED was set off in Barangay Pagatin, Datu Salibo against government forces backed by armored personnel carriers who were conducting road security patrol Saturday night.
Capt. Arvin John Encinas, speaking for the military’s 6th Infantry Division, said the IED in Datu Salibo went off at about 6 p.m. while soldiers were heading to an Army detachment in Sitio Gadong, Barangay Pagatin.
Two tires of a Simba vehicle were damaged but nobody was hurt among the government troops, Encinas said.
The Army had launched intermittent artillery fire towards Datu Salibo after BIFF forces were seen massing toward the Barangay Pagatin Army detachment. Intelligence officials said suspected foreigners were seen in the company of the BIFF.
At about 9:30 a.m. Sunday, suspected BIFF set off an IED on the roadside in a garbage dumping area along the national highway in the boundary of Datu Hofer and Datu Abdulla Sangki, both in Maguindanao.
Nobody was hurt among elements of the 57th Infantry Battalion who passed by the blast site minutes earlier.
Encinas said the Datu Hofer roadside blast Sunday could be a diversionary tactic by BIFF while they are under attack in Datu Salibo.
A portion of the Cotabato-Isulan highway was closed for more than an hour while bomb disposal team members conducted post blast investigation.
The BIFF claimed one of its men was killed during the artillery attack but the Army is yet to confirm the report. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)