Authorities probe BIFF attack believed to have targeted local police
The Datu Piang municipal police patrol vehicle members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters set on fire Thursday night.
Philstar.com/John Unson

Authorities probe BIFF attack believed to have targeted local police

John Unson (Philstar.com) - December 5, 2020 - 5:12pm

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — Local residents are certain there is a deep-seated grudge between the municipal police force and the terrorists who attacked the town center of Datu Piang Thursday night.

Major Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said Saturday intelligence units of 6th ID are now helping the police verify the veracity of information fed by Datu Piang residents purporting that the atrocity involved a group of terrorists whose relatives were arrested by local police personnel in recent law enforcement operations.

Datu Piang, an old town in Maguindanao, is located near the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Delta, a haven of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters who operates in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

BIFF members stormed the town proper of Datu Piang shortly before midnight Thursday, set on fire a police pick-up truck and a roadside security outpost soldiers used for daytime public safety duties.

The terrorists also fired assault rifles at houses nearby before they fled when responding soldiers from nearby Army command posts arrived at the scene.

“It seems the target of their attack was the local police. We have learned from informants that the terrorists who intruded into the town proper of Datu Piang are hostile to the local police force. Good enough no one was hurt in the incident,” Uy said.

More than a dozen suspects in heinous crimes related to senior leaders of the BIFF were arrested by members of the Datu Piang municipal police in the past 12 months.

BIFF terrorists have even set off a fragmentation grenade near the Datu Piang municipal police station early this year, an attack that caused panic among villagers in houses nearby.

Local officials said the group that perpetrated the attack belongs to the Karialan faction in the BIFF, led by the Islamic theologian Ustadz Karialan, wanted for acts of terror and deadly bomb attacks in central Mindanao in the past five years.

The two other BIFF factions, one led by Imam Bongos and the other by Abu Toraife, denied involvement in Thursday's incident in the town proper of Datu Piang. 

The BIFF terrorists involved in the raid were last seen fleeing to marshes that connect to the Liguasan Delta.

Lt. Col. Anhouvic Atilano of the 6th Civil-Military Operations Battalion of 6th ID, said Army units are targeting the fleeing BIFF bandits with mortar fire to drive them away.

“The situation in Datu Piang has returned to normal. The local government unit, the police and the military are in control,” Atilano said. 

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