Reds, BIFF  âallianceâ being monitored

Military and defense sources disclosed the BIFF and the communist New People’s Army (NPA) have forged an alliance in their planned offensive against the government. File

Reds, BIFF ‘alliance’ being monitored
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - December 9, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — The military is closely monitoring reports of a tactical alliance between communist rebels and the extremist Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Military and defense sources disclosed the BIFF and the communist New People’s Army (NPA) have forged an alliance in their planned offensive against the government.

Sources, however, stressed the report of the tactical alliance needs further validation.

A security official, on the other hand, said Islamic militants and the NPA are known have maintained an unholy alliance despite their differing religious and political beliefs.

“We are still verifying this but there is logic to the report because it’s normal either for the BIFF terrorists and also the NPAs to look for an ally to avoid a repeat of what happened to the Mautes in Marawi. If true, then I think it’s going to be just a marriage of convenience for the moment,” one of the sources said.

Bolstering the intelligence report was the roadside bombing believed to have been carried out by the NPA where seven Marines, including an officer, were wounded in Barangay Mirab, North Upi, Maguindanao.

The soldiers were headed back to their headquarters after responding to an attack on a police outpost by unidentified gunmen.

Officials said the seven soldiers were hit by an IED that went off while their vehicle was about to cross a bridge in the area.

Extremist groups like the BIFF are known to operate in Maguindanao, but the NPA is now a creeping influence in several areas of the province, particularly in South Cotabato.

Also being looked into is the reported activation of the NPA Sparrow Unit, an already disbanded urban hit squad in line with communist leaderships’ plan to revive its assassination operations against key government and civilian targets.

“Lately, we received an intelligence report that the NPA has activated its Sparrow Units, with government officials as targets of liquidations,” the source said.

In reviving the Sparrow Units, the NPA’s main objective is to drag the country back to the Marcos years, the source said.

The Sparrow Units gained notoriety for assassinations of policemen and government officials, including personalities they perceived to be helping the government.

In August this year, government troops intercepted seven .45 caliber pistols from a passenger in a bus bound for Davao City.

The seized guns were reportedly intended for delivery to Sparrow Unit members already deployed in the city. 

The person who was believed to be transporting the handguns managed to escape while the police were lining up each passenger for body search.

Another source said that as far as his unit is concerned, there are no monitored NPA armed activities in urban centers.

“What we are monitoring is an increase in NPA activities outside of these urban centers including Metro Manila,” the official said. 

He said the NPA activities could be part of their strategy to establish partisan armed units in places close to their targets.

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