Alleged BIFF leader nabbed in Cotabato City

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/05 September) – An alleged leader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters was arrested Wednesday while recuperating at the Cotabato City Hospital for wounds he reportedly suffered during a military operation against the armed group.

The arrest came after a tip from the Naval Intelligence Security Group-Western Mindanao on the whereabouts of Samad K. Masgal alias Madrox, who is also accused of involvement in illegal drug trade.

Samad Masgal on his hospital bed during his arrest on Wednesday, 4 September 2019. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

Operatives from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority in Region 12 and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao made the arrest in coordination with the city government and police office of Cotabato, police from Midsayap, North Cotabato and the 602nd Infantry Brigade.

Masgal, whose left arm was amputated, did not resist as the PDEA operatives read in front of him his arrest warrant.

He is tagged as a leader of the BIFF, which had reportedly pledged allegiance to the ISIS.

He was allegedly responsible for the killing of two soldiers and a policeman during a joint anti-drugs operation in August 14, 2016 by the PDEA, PNP, Army and Navy.

Eight soldiers were wounded that day. This was followed by an offensive against the BIFF in Nabalawag, Midsayap, North Cotabato.

The operation resulted in the confiscation of 600,000 pesos worth of illegal drugs and paraphernalia.

Madrox is facing illegal possession of explosives, murder, five counts of attempted murder and drug-related cases.

Madrox, 43, has residences in Nabalawag and Bonggo Island in Parang, Maguindanao where he managed to hide from authorities. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)