14 BIFF men, 4 soldiers slain in Maguindanao clashes
Roel Pareño, Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - March 8, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — At least 14 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and four soldiers have been killed in clashes in Maguindanao since Monday.

The military said 11 soldiers were also wounded.

The slain soldiers were identified as Pfcs. Willy Tingzon and Dexter Jay Hierro, Cpl. Albert Serquina and Sgt. Irvin Alberastine.

”We salute the bravery of our fallen soldiers who fought up to the last drop of their blood to spare communities from the treachery of heartless enemies,” Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Western Mindanao Command chief, said.

Sobejana said the bodies of five of the slain BIFF bandits have been recovered.

The gunfights were ongoing in Ampatuan, Datu Hoffer and Shariff Aguak yesterday.

 “Our forces pursue our campaign to pound down the remaining terrorists, penetrate enemy lairs and ensure the safety of the people,” Sobejana said.

He said soldiers overran a BIFF stronghold in Barangay Salman in Ampatuan.

Government troopers recovered assorted firearms, ammunition, improvised explosive devices and other war materiel at the BIFF camp.

Sobejana said personnel of the Joint Task Force Central and 6th Army Division led by Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon launched air and ground assaults on Monday after confirming reports on the presence of members of the terror group.

He said Salahuddin Hassan, a sub-commander of BIFF leader Abu Toraife who is tagged in bombings in Maguindanao, is the target of the military offensive. 

Col. Jose Narciso of the 601st Infantry Brigade said a group of soldiers are helping local government units provide relief and rehabilitation assistance to families displaced by the hostilities. – With John Unson

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