Soldiers seize BIFF makeshift bomb-making facility in Maguindanao
Among the cache of explosives soldiers recovered were projectiles already emptied of blasting powder, a vital component of improvised roadside bombs.
Philstar.com/John Unson
Soldiers seize BIFF makeshift bomb-making facility in Maguindanao
John Unson (Philstar.com) - September 26, 2020 - 3:54pm

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — Soldiers found Friday in an upland area in Ampatuan town some 50 kilos of ordnance convertible to improvised explosive devices and materials for roadside bombs.

The IED components were piled in a shelter in an abandoned enclave of the Dawlah Islamiya, also known as the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, subject of continuing offensive since last week by units of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

Major Gen. Juvymax Uy, 6th ID’s commander, said Saturday the cache, hidden in a hinterland spot in Barangay Salman in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, was discovered by personnel of the 1st Mechanized Battalion running after Dawlah Islamiya bomb-makers villagers have spotted converging in the area early on.

Among the IED materials collected by an Army bomb disposal team that sifted through the makeshift BIFF ordnance depot where a 105 cannon round, a 60 millimeter mortar projectile, containers filled with incendiary powder and components for improvised detonators that can be activated from a distance using mobile phones.

BIFF bandits are experts in collecting dud cannon and mortar projectiles, fired from Army camps as artillery support for troops chasing them, that they convert into IEDs using blasting contraptions attached to mobile phones.

EOD operatives also recovered hidden underneath the piles of the IED materials a compilation of schematic diagrams of powerful roadside bombs that can be fashioned from anti-tank rockets, 40 millimeter grenade projectiles and explosives made of ammonium nitrate packed with metal fragments with jagged edges. 

Units of 6th ID and the Philippine Navy’s 1st Marine Brigade have been clearing from BIFF presence since last week the hinterlands in Maguindanao’s Ampatuan and Shariff Aguak towns after local villagers reported sightings of suspects in recent deadly bombings in central Mindanao.

Uy said the operation was launched after vigilant sectors reported a plot by the BIFF to pull off bombings to disprove a notion that the deaths of more than 50 members in Army offensives from late 2019 to August this year and the surrender of almost 200 terrorists from its fold in recent months starting 2018 have not weakened its capability to perpetrate terror attacks.

Uy said he is thankful to local officials and traditional Moro elders for continuously providing the 6th ID with information pertaining to the activities of the BIFF, which operates in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Uy said the group is known for its impunity in bombing non-military targets, public conveyances and commercial establishments to avenge losses in encounters with pursuing state security forces, or if demands for “protection money” are not met.

BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTER
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