Woman killed, 2 wounded in Army assault against BIFF

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/25 July) – An Army air strike against alleged members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) hit a house in a village in Pikit, Cotabato, killing a woman and wounding her husband and their grandson on Thursday dawn.

Killed was Misba Masla, of sitio Butelin, Brgy. Kabasalan in Pikit. Her husband, Ali, and grandson Edwin, a grade five pupil, were seriously injured and were brought to the Cruzado Medical Clinic in Pikit for treatment.

Major Homer Estolas, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division, said in a phone interview that the air and ground assaults targeted the Abu Toraife Group of Dawlah Islamiyah Mindanao, an alleged sub-group of the BIFF.

Abu Misry Mama, spokesperson of BIFF denied that the group of Toraife was in the area. He said the Army strikes hit civilian homes.

“How could they say in public that they are protecting civilians when in fact, very obvious, that they bombed the house of an old woman?” he said in a phone interview.

Estolas, for his part, said they will investigate the incident.

“This is a division-wide proactive operation in Maguindanao and North Cotabato to halt the manufacturing of bomb making facilities of BIFF who are posing threat of bomb attacks,” said BGen Alfredo Rosario of the 602nd Infantry Brigade in North Cotabato.

He said one unidentified follower of Eds Grapil of BIFF was killed. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)