BIFF suspected as behind killing of 2 soldiers in hospital PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 October 2014 12:55

Police on Thursday tagged the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as suspect in the gun slaying of two soldiers guarding the emergency room of a government hospistal in the province of Maguindanao.

Chief Supt. Noel De los Reyes, police chief in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said police investigators are looking into the possible involvement of BIFF in the killing of the two soldiers in retaliation to the arrest of a high-ranking member of the BIFF, Abi Salman also known known as Sauman Usman, believed to be a relative of top extremist bomb maker Basit Usman, who has signified his  allegiance to jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS).

De los Reyes said police intelligence operatives have been mobilized to gather more information on the killing and track down the killers.

Maguindanao Integrated Provincial Health chief Dr. Tahir Sulaik said the shooting around 9 a hospital in Datu Hoffer town.

He said the attackers, upon entering the emergency room, pointed their guns on the soldiers from behind and demanded the latter to surrender their M-16 riffles.

Using the soldiers’ firearms, the killers riddled the victims bodies with bullets before fleeing, Sulaik said.

“We vehemently condemn the attack inside the hospital... we are open to all who seek our assistance but it really feels sad they [attackers] did it there,” Sulaik said.

He said no one from the hospital staff and patients were hurt during the attack.

On September 30, two soldiers were also shot dead outside a church in Datu Piang town, shortly after a thanksgiving prayer and candle offering of one of the victims who was celebrating his birthday.

The incident was followed by another killing of another soldier from the 33rd Infantry Battalion at a busy market of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town.

During a Peace and Order Council meeting last month in Maguindanao, security officials cited the creation of BIFF’s liquidation team with sole missing of avenging the deaths of its members in recent firefights with government troops.

Salman, who carries a P1.3 million reward on his head, was nabbed Tuesday in Maguindanao, a regional police official said Thursday.

Sr. Supt. Rodelio Jocson, Maguindanao provincial police director, said Salman was arrested around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday by government security forces in the village of Tuka in Mamasapano town.

Jocson said Salman faces multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder and attempted murder cases pending before a Regional Trial Court.

He said that at the time of Saliman’s arrest, he reportedly grabbed the M16 rifle of one of the arresting officers, prompting the other security forces to shoot him on his right thigh.

Maguindanao is the main bastion of the MILF, thast signed a peace deal with the Philippine government on March 27. BIFF and the al-qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf have declared their support to ISIL.