7 BIFFs killed, 13 soldiers hurt in central Mindanao offensive PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 08 March 2015 14:52

Philippines military on Saturday said that a breakaway rebel group has suffered seven deaths, while 13 soldiers have been wounded in one of two ongoing offensives in southern Philippines.

Armed Forces of the Philippines’ public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc told the state-run Philippines News Agency (PNA) that the number of casualties has gone up after a series of clashes Friday.

Cabunoc said among those wounded was a UH-IH “Huey” helicopted pilot who was hit by ground fire from guerrillas of the Bangsamoro Moro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) while providing air suport to the troops he just inserted in a combat area in central Mindanao’s provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

Cabunoc said that another firefight broke Saturday, but refused to give exact locations as operations were still ongoing.

Earlier, the military reported that nine soldiers from the Army’s 6th Infantry Division’s Task Force Central were wounded, while six members of the BIFF were wounded following a firefight in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, Maguindanao Friday afternoon.

The clash took place at 2 p.m. and ended early Saturday morning, Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the army’s  6th Infantry Division told Anadolu Agency.

Petinglay said those wounded were immediately evacuated for treatment. None of the injuries suffered by government forces are life-threatening, she added.

At 2:50 p.m. Friday, Task Force Central troopers mounted clearing operations at the borders of Dabunayan and Liab villages, Datu Piang town, and arrested four BIFF members identified as Aladin Panaydan, 22; Daud Balogat, 23; Ebrahim Oraw, 40 and Abdul Madalidaw, 33.

Also captured was the BIFF camp in the area.

Recovered from their possession were a .45 caliber pistol and one magazine containing six rounds of ammunition; one .45 Thompson sub-machine gun, improvised explosive device (IED) paraphernalia, four mobile phones and assorted war materials and documents.

“The capture of the camp only proves that the BIFF is involved in the manufacture of IEDs and is establishing strongholds in the different areas within the vicinity of the SPMS box. The current operation will greatly affect the BIFF as this is already the third encampment that has already been captured in less than a week,” Petinglay said.

The offensive against the BIFF and other armed groups in central Mindanao, including the newly formed Justice for the Islamic Movement, enters its second week.

Another military offensive is also in its second week in the deep south province of Sulu where the said 36 Abu Sayyaf militants have been killed.