15 more BIFF terrorists surrender to military

John Unson - Philstar.com
15 more BIFF terrorists surrender to military
The firearms turned in by the 15 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters who surrendered on Monday are now in the custody of the Army's 6th Infantry Battalion.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Fifteen more members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters surrendered to the military in Datu Piang, Maguindanao del Sur on Monday.

Major Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, told reporters on Tuesday that the 15 BIFF members yielded to officials of the 6th Infantry Battalion and the 601st Infantry Brigade through the intercession of municipal officials in Datu Piang and nearby towns.

The group is from a BIFF faction led by Kagui Karialan, who is wanted for more than 30 high-profile criminal cases pending in different courts in Central Mindanao.

The BIFF and its ally, the Dawlah Islamiya, are tagged in all deadly bombings in the region since 2014 of buses and establishments whose owners had refused to pay “protection money” on a periodic basis.

The surrender of the 15 BIFF members on Monday brought to 491 the number of local terrorists from across Maguindanao del Sur alone who had pledged allegiance to the government in the past 12 months, apart from the more than 700 others who have returned to the fold of law in batches in other provinces nearby during the period.

The 15 BIFF members turned over their firearms to Col. Michael Glenn Manansala, commanding officer of the 6th Infantry Battalion, and Brig. Gen. Oriel Pangcog of the 601st Infantry Brigade before they renounced their membership with the BIFF in the presence of local officials during a symbolic rite in Barangay Buayan in Datu Piang.

They also turned in prior to the event a dozen powerful improvised explosive devices rigged with blasting mechanisms that can be detonated using mobile phones that they were supposed to set off in public places, all promptly deactivated by Army bomb disposal experts and buried in a safe area.

The mayor of Datu Piang, Victor Samama, and the 6th IB are to cooperate in reintegrating the 15 former BIFF members into the local communities with the help of the 6th ID and agencies of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

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