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5 BIFF bandits slain in Maguindanao clash

by With reportsfrom John Unson, Mike Frialde, AP (The Philippine Star) - May 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — Five members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were killed in an encounter with soldiers in Datu Paglas town yesterday.

Identified only as Anding, Said, Bitol, Musib and Habib, the fatalities were among around 100 BIFF bandits who stormed the town and camped out at a public market on Saturday morning, triggering an hour-long gunfight with responding military units.

Brig. Gen. Roy Galido, 601st Infantry Brigade commander, said soldiers were checking the reported presence of armed men in the area when they were attacked.

President Duterte during his visit to this province on Tuesday said the BIFF remains the biggest hindrance to peace in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“The monkeywrench of the whole situation now is the BIFF... They continue to burn, ambush, detonate bombs, talagang full-blown terrorism,” Duterte said.

He appealed to BARMM officials to help control the BIFF or he would be forced to order an all-out offensive against the group.

Duterte said he does not want the situation to go out of control, but noted that the lives of soldiers and policemen are at stake.

“It’s life that is involved here... Kung hindi ko mapigilan and there will be an all-out offensive, iyan na ang problema. And if I give the order, I will no longer withdraw it,” he said.

“Nagmamakaawa ako sa inyo tulungan ninyo ako because otherwise... if I give the order for an all-out offensive, it will be bloody and it will be sad,” Duterte said.

Meanwhile, in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, soldiers killed a commander of the Dawlah Islamiya group in Barangay Dapaiawan on Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy of the 6th Infantry Division identified the fatality as Kopang Sahak, a sub-leader under the Maguid group.

Col. Pedro Balisi of the First Mechanized Infantry Brigade said Sahak was in the arrest order of the Department of National Defense and had a standing warrant for frustrated murder. – Edith Regalado, Roel Pareño

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