BIFF behind Mindanao blasts?
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - January 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is verifying reports that members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were behind recent explosions in Mindanao that left 22 people, including six soldiers, wounded.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the NBI submitted its preliminary report on the bombings in Cotabato City, North Cotabato and Maguindanao on Dec. 22, but the findings were inconclusive.

“They are conducting further investigation to determine if the perpetrators have any link with known terrorist groups operating in Mindanao,” Guevarra said. 

He said NBI Director Dante Gierran cited prior incidents pointing to the BIFF or Dawla Islamiya as the perpetrators. 

Gierran said NBI agents in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao  and other law enforcement agencies are monitoring the BIFF.

The NBI’s initial findings support the statement of the Western Mindanao Command that the BIFF was behind the explosions.  

Guevarra said he is giving the NBI until the end of this month to come up with its final report.  

“I will give them another month to complete the probe and submit a final report… We expect a progress report,” he said. 

The wounded soldiers are members of the 62nd Reconnaissance Company of the 6th Infantry Division. They were among the 16 persons hit in the explosion near the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cotabato City. Three others were wounded in the blasts in Libungan, North Cotabato and two in Upi, Maguindanao.

The BIFF denied allegations its members perpetrated the bombings, saying they could not get past the checkpoints in Cotabato City.


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