Alleged BIFF member killed in military operation in Maguindanao
An alleged member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) died in a military operation in Maguindanao on Monday morning.
Maj. Andrew Linao, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) said the Joint Task Force Central launched the military operations against the group led by Esmael Abdulmalik, alias Abu Turaifie, in the vicinity of Sitio Patawali, Barangay Ganta, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao around 7am.
Linao said the military operation was made in response to reported presence of the terrorist group harrassing the people in the community.
JTF Central Acting Commander, Brig. Gen. Eduardo Gubat said they used field artillery that delivered indirect fire against the enemy locations while the Philippine Air Force also conducted air support operations during the clash.
"Our field artillery unit conducted indirect fire aimed at the place where they were hiding. Their forces were further weakened following the close air support performed by the Philippine Air Force. The operations were conducted to prevent the terror group from disturbing the peace, order, and security enjoyed by those who live there”, said Gubat.
Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr. said the Air Force conducted bomb runs in different target areas as guided by the intelligence operatives.
"All our operations are in adherence to the International Humanitarian Law. Our intelligence operatives have been closely monitoring the movements of the enemies prior to the conduct of the bomb run. We are certainly sure that no civilians were affected during the bomb run,” he said.
The slain terrorist members was identified as Sadam Salandang, alias Sadam, a member of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters-Karialan Faction under alias Robot.
Linao said the body of Sadam was turned over to the local officials of Datu Salibo for proper burial. He also noted that DI-TG and the BIFF - Karialan Faction are both "violent extremist organizations operating in Central Mindanao."
Linao said during the clearing operation the government forces also recovered war materials including "two M16A1 rifles, one M203 grenade launcher, one garand rifle, two carbines, one Barret cal. 50, three magazines of M16, 12 pieces improvised explosive device main charges, 19 pieces blasting caps, one bandolier, one basic phone, 19 pieces backpacks, 11 pieces 9-volt batteries, 13 pieces hammocks, and assorted ammunition."
Linao did not say how many residents were evacuated because of the clash but said that according to Col. Oriel Pangcog, commander of 601st Infantry Brigade, residents near the target areas were temporarily evacuated to daycare centers and supervised by the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of Datu Salibo and Shariff Saydona Mustapha, both of Maguindanao. Robina Asido/DMS