Army, BIFF clash as rebels try to blow up bridge in Maguindanao PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 07 February 2016 13:57

Outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) on Friday tried but failed to blow up a vital bridge in Maguindanao, the military on Saturday said.

Colonel Felicisimo Badiongan, commander of 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade based in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, said alert civilians informed the military about the presence of suspected improvised bomb planted over a bridge still undergoing construction in Barangay Butalo, Datu Salibo town in Maguindanao.

“While our troops were conducting clearing operations and bomb disruption, the BIFF were firing at us,” Badiongon said in a phone interview.

An Army official who Capt. Joan Petinglay, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson did not identify was slightly injured in his head.

“He is safe now, he only sustained minor injuries,” Petinglay said in a phone interview.

Using Barret Cal. 50 sniper rifles, the bandits were sniping at government forces at about 4 p.m. forcing a sporadic firefight.

According to Badiongan, the BIFF has been opposed to the construction of a bridge because they fear the infrastructure will make it easier for military hardware to reach their hideouts in Datu Salibo.

Army bomb experts safely defused the IED amid sniper fires from lawless groups.

The bridge project is funded under the priority development fund of Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu.

Speaking for the BIFF, Abu Misri Mama, admitted they planted the improvised bomb and fired at government forces “because they are coming close to our area.”

Sporadic exchanges of gunfire from both sides continue. Petinglay could not say if the BIFF suffered casualties in the clashes.

Fighting was still on-going as of Saturday morning.