421 Teduray families displaced by BIFF attacks

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 01 January) – A total of 421 families of Indigenous Peoples in Maguindanao  — Tedurays, Lambiangans and Dulangan Manobos — in their claimed ancestral comain that the military has refered to as the “Mt. Firis Complex,” fled their homes following a series of recent attacks by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) that started shortly before Christmas.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s Humanitarian Emergency Action Response Team (ARMM-HEART) recorded a total of 421 families — 136 families in Hill 224 and 285 families in Datu Hoffer town.

Jo Henry, ARMM-Heart spokesperson, said Monday morning that they were on their way to distribute relief goods to the 285 displaced families in Datu Hoffer.

Relief distribution of the ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Assistance Response team (HEART) at the municipal gym in Datu Hoffer, Maguindanao on New Year’s Day for 285 families displaced during a series of attacks by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. Photo courtesy of ARMM-HEART

Timuay Jovel Tenorio told MindaNews on Monday that a total of 347 families have sought refuge in his area in Sitio Bagung, Barangay Kabengi in Datu Saudi Ampatuan.

Tenorio said 16 houses in Sitio Makon, Barangay Limpungo in Datu Hoffer town, were set on fire by the BIFF on Sunday.

In a press statement on December 28, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said the BIFF attacked civilian communities in Datu Hoffer and Datu Unsay in Maguindanao.

It said the BIFF burned houses made of light materials in a Teduray Community at Sitio Makon, Brgy Iginampong, Datu Unsay; emplacing and blasting of improvised explosive device (IED) at Sitio Perez, Brgy Maitumaig, Datu Unsay killed an innocent civilian and kidnapping and killing of two indigenous people (IPs), Alex Mintos and Hector Mintos, who are residents of Brgy Limpongo, Datu Hoffer.

The Joint Task Force Central vehemently condemned the “acts of terror” against the civilian populace.

The 6th ID press tatement said an air strike was launched at Datu Unsay on Christmas Day, December 25, following the burning of houses that resulted to the killing of  four BIFF members and wounding of five  others.

The BIFF, founded by  Ustadz Amiril Umra Kato,  broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in March 2010 and has since broken into three factions.

Kato suffered a stroke in November 2011 and passed away on April 14, 2015. (MindaNews)