Army, police dismantle BIFF gun repair shop in Maguindanao

John Unson - Philstar.com
Army, police dismantle BIFF gun repair shop in Maguindanao
The law enforcement operation in General Salipada Pendatun town was carried out by police and military units.
John Unson

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — A joint Army-police team dismantled Tuesday a makeshift firearms repair shop of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

The BIFF, the group that authorities say is behind all the bombings in central Mindanao in recent years, uses the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said Wednesday the facility, located at Barangay Midconding in General Salipada Pendatun in Maguindanao, was operated by BIFF bandits led by Sukarno Buka.

Personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the 33rd Infantry Battalion, the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion and the police’s 4th Special Action Battalion found gun parts, gunsmith tools and assorted ammunition in the firearm repair shop.

"The purpose of the operation was to arrest Buka, who is wanted for criminal offenses but he managed to escape. Their gun shop was immediately dismantled. I’m thankful to the CIDG-BARMM for its extensive role in this operation that led to the seizure of gun parts, tools and ammunition hidden in that shop," Sobejana said.

Local officials said Buka and his men had also produced improvised rocket launchers and components for improvised explosive devices in the facility.

Agents of CIDG-BARMM led by Col. James Gulmatico earlier arrested BIFF gunsmiths in operations early this year in towns in the second district of Maguindanao.

Sobejana said the joint Army-police operation in Barangay Midconding was coordinated with the ceasefire committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has an agreement with the government for cooperation in addressing security threats.

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