BIFF commander, 10 followers yield in Maguindanao – military

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 December) —  Tired of fighting government forces, a field commander of the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and 10 of his subordinates yielded to the military on Saturday to live peaceful lives, officials said Sunday.

Lt. Col.  Samuel Nadala Jr, commander of the 2nd Mechanized Battalion (2MechBn), said Commander OB10, leader of the BIFF Second Division under the Bungos faction, surrendered to government forces in Barangay Kamasi, Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

In a statement, Nadala said the surrenderees turned over their high-powered firearms, including  two 5.56mm M-16 rifles, one 7.62mm M-14 rifle, one Springfield rifle, two Garand rifles, two locally-made rocket propelled grenade launchers and two locally-made Barret sniper rifles.

They were presented to Colonel Pedro Balisi Jr, commander of the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Datu Piang Mayor Victor Samama and former Datu Anggal Midtimbang mayor  Nathaniel Midtimbang, among other local officials, he said.

Lt. Col. Charlie Banaag, commanding officer of the 6th Infantry Battalion (IB), attributed their surrender to the “strong synergy and harmonious cooperation” among the 2MechBn and 6IB, local government units (LGUs), and the Bangsamoro regional and Maguindanao provincial police commands.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) and 6th Infantry Division commander, commended the efforts of both the government security forces and local government units in Maguindanao.

“The synergy between the security forces and the local government units manifests that we have an advantage in fighting against local terrorists in this part of the region. We can successfully thwart the enemies and stop them from committing dangerous acts through the cooperation of everybody,” Uy said.

Rest assured the JTFC will continue to strengthen our relationship with the police and the LGUs and will never stop hunting terrorists to ensure the safety of our people, he added. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)