200 families flee NorthCot town due to air strike, ground ops vs BIFF

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 11 Nov) — At least 200 families from two villages in Carmen, North Cotabato evacuated to safer areas in nearby Aleosan town, after the Army launched intense air-to-ground military offensives against ISIS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) since Wednesday, Capt. Napoleon Alcarioto, head of the Civil Military Operations (CMO) of the Army’s 602nd Brigade, said.

Alcarioto said the evacuees sought temporary shelter in Barangay Lawili, Aleosan.

He said the internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been given initial assistance of relief goods by the local government units of Carmen and Aleosan.

The evacuees are housed in their relatives’ houses, according to Alcarioto.

He said they have been using MG-520 attack helicopters against the BIFF since Wednesday.

“On the ground, our men recovered a number of personal belongings of these BIFF members, which led us to believe that some of them could have been hit during the military air strikes,” said Alcarioto.

The military offensives took place after some 30 fully-armed ISIS-inspired BIFF were sighted in Barangay Tonganon and nearby village in Bentangan, also in Carmen, on Tuesday.

The presence of the armed group, allegedly led by a certain Esmael Abdulmalik or Commander Abu Torayfe, caused panic among residents who immediately sought refuge in other areas to avoid getting caught in a crossfire. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)