MILF, BIFF clash for 2nd time in a week
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - February 11, 2015 - 6:06pm

NORTH COTABATO, Philippines - Rival forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters again traded shots on Wednesday at the border Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces, the second MILF-BIFF encounter in the area since Monday.

Lt. Col. Audie Edralin, commanding officer of the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion, said the latest hostilities in Barangay Kalbugan, located at the border of Pikit, North Cotabato and Maguindanao’s Pagalungan town, erupted when BIFF forces led by Gani Saligan and Muhidin Animbang intruded into a village controlled by MILF members led by Jack Abas.

Abas is a senior MILF leader whose followers reside in the adjoining Pagalungan and Pikit towns and in Kabacan, North Cotabato.

Edralin said exchanges of automatic gunfire were heard in villages around Kalbugan, a known gateway to the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta, a known lair of rebel groups, some led by radical jihadists.

A BIFF member was killed while two others were wounded Monday in a two-hour firefight with MILF guerillas in Barangay Kalbugan.

The firefight erupted when members of the outlawed BIFF, led by Gani Saligan, attacked from different directions an MILF enclave in the area.

The MILF members, led by Commander Falcon, returned fire and engaged the bandits in a running firefight, killing one of them and wounding two others.

The rival groups of Saligan and Commander Falcon, who belong to the MILF’s 108th Base Command, are locked in squabbles for control of strategic areas in the Liguasan Delta at the marshy border of Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

Saligan and his men are based near Mlang town in west of North Cotabato.

AUDIE EDRALIN BARANGAY KALBUGAN BASE COMMAND COMMANDER FALCON GANI SALIGAN GANI SALIGAN AND MUHIDIN ANIMBANG INFANTRY BATTALION JACK ABAS LIGUASAN DELTA MAGUINDANAO AND NORTH COTABATO NORTH COTABATO
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