(UPDATED) 2 soldiers killed in Maguindanao hospital attack
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2014 - 12:57pm

MAGUINDANAO - Members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) killed two soldiers and took their firearms in a hospital attack in Datu Hofer town on Wednesday night.

The bandits, who posed as visitors, arrived at the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital at about 9:00 p.m. and immediately subdued, disarmed and shot at close range the two soldiers guarding the entrance to the emergency room.

Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, which has jurisdiction over Maguindanao’s 36 towns, confirmed the incident, but declined to identify the slain soldiers pending the notification of the tragedy to their families.

BIFF hitmen earlier killed three off-duty soldiers in separate attacks in nearby Datu Piang town, also in Maguindanao.

Physician Tahir Sulaik, chief of the Maguindanao Integrated Provincial Health Office, condemned the attack, branding it an affront to the neutrality of the medical community, which serves needy people without cultural, racial and religious preferences and prejudices.

No one from the hospital’s personnel and patients were hurt in the attack.

Chief Superintendent Noel delos Reyes, regional police director of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said investigators are now trying to determine the identities of the gunmen for them to be properly charged in court.

Delos Reyes said police intelligence agents are now looking into assertions by local officials that the attack could be a retaliation for Tuesday’s arrest in nearby Mamasapano town of wanted guerrilla ordnance expert Abi Salman.

Salman was cornered by combined ARMM policemen and Army operatives in his hideout in Barangay Tuka in Mamasapano, about five kilometres away from the public hospital.

Salman is wanted for recent deadly bombings in Central Mindanao. He is a nephew of foreign-trained bomber Basit Usman, who has links with the BIFF.

Usman was said to have undergone training in handling and fabrication of explosives in Kandahar, Afganistan and in Peshawar, Pakistan during the 1990s. - with Dennis Carcamo

ABI SALMAN AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS BARANGAY TUKA BASIT USMAN CENTRAL MINDANAO CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT NOEL DATU HOFER DATU PIANG DELOS REYES DENNIS CARCAMO
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