COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 19 February) — A top leader of the IS-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) operating in Maguindanao was killed along with his aide at the bus terminal in Tacurong City on Saturday noon.
Brigadier General Pedro Balisi Jr., commander of the 1st Mechanized Brigade, identified the slain suspects as Abdulkarem Lumbatan Hasim, also known as “Boy Jacket,” and his aide Mahmod Lumbatan alias Mahmod Capunlo.
Lt. Col. Bryan Bernardino, newly-installed Tacurong City police, said the success of the operation was “a product of good coordination and intelligence efforts of all security forces.”
Authorities recovered a motorcycle, a Taurus Cal. 45 pistol with live ammunition, a smartphone, and a keypad cellphone from the suspects.
Balisi said Hasim was the Field Commander of the BIFF-KF and a notorious criminal in the area.
Balisi said Hasim was behind the August 29, 2022 ambush of police personnel who were just serving a warrant of arrest at Brgy. Kapinpilan in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao.
Killed in the ambush were Lieutenant Reynaldo Orcine Samson, Chief of Police of Ampatuan and Police Corporal Salipuden Talipasan Endab while three other police personnel were wounded.
He said the suspect was also implicated in multiple harassment incidents resulting in casualties in Maguindanao del Sur.
Balisi added that Hasim was responsible for the harassment of the Butalo Patrol Base, resulting in the death of Corporal Allan R. Balena and the injury of Corporal Catalan on October 12, 2022.
The suspect was also linked to incidents in Brgy. Labu Labu 2, Datu Hoffer Ampatuan, Maguindanao del Sur, on November 25, 2022, and at the Goco Patrol Base on December 25, 2022, which resulted in injuries to military personnel, he said.
Major General Alex S. Rillera, Commander of the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division and Joint Task Force Central, noted that the neutralization of alias Boy Jacket and his companion was a significant blow to the BIFF-KF, and a victory for the authorities in maintaining peace and order in the area, and for the victims, a victory for justice.
Rillera urged other BIFF members surrender to pave the way for sustainable peace and progress in South and South Central Mindanao.
“Your Army, in collaboration with other government forces, will continue to pursue those accountable for the heinous acts in the area. Rest assured that we shall sustain military operations to finally finish the remaining terrorists in South and South Central Mindanao” he said. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)