Soldiers, BIFF clash in Sultan Kudarat

Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Fighting erupted between soldiers and members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Sultan Kudarat in Central Mindanao before dawn yesterday.

The Philippine Army said members of the 33rd Infantry Battalion clashed with the bandit group on the outskirts of Barangay Paitan in Esperanza town.

Residents fled their homes to avoid being caught in the crossfire, the military reported.

The military has been intensifying its offensive against the BIFF amid reports that the group has declared its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and offered sanctuary to foreign jihadists.

“The encounter is ongoing,” the Army said yesterday.

Members of the Sultan Kudarat Public Safety Company have set up roadblocks to prevent the BIFF fighters from leaving the town.

Last month, eight suspected militants, including an Indonesian bomber, were killed in an encounter with soldiers on the outskirts of Barangay Butril in Palimbang town. Soldiers recovered various guns, explosives and flags identical with the ISIS flag at the suspected terrorist lair.

BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS BARANGAY BUTRIL BARANGAY PAITAN CENTRAL MINDANAO ESPERANZA INFANTRY BATTALION ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND SYRIA MEMBERS OF THE SULTAN KUDARAT PUBLIC SAFETY COMPANY PALIMBANG PHILIPPINE ARMY SULTAN KUDARAT
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