63 civilians rescued, 2 BIFF members arrested Print
Friday, 23 June 2017 15:59

63 civilians rescued, 2 BIFF members nabbed as pursuit continue in Central Mindanao Headquarters Western Mindanao Command, Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City- June 21, 2017 Sixty-three civilians were rescued by the Joint Task Force Central in the all-out conduct of combat operations against members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in North Cotabato, while two of the bandits were arrested in a checkpoint established by the military in Maguindanao yesterday (June 21).

Elements of the 602nd Brigade advanced towards the Malagakit Elementary School to rescue the hostages, who were used as human shields, and engage the fleeing BIFF members in Barangay Malagakit, Pigcawayan, North Cotabato at around 6pm yesterday.

Upon sensing the movement of the troops, the bandits immediately retreated, leaving behind their 31 captives.

Meanwhile, 32 residents trapped in the crossfire went out of their houses, for fear of being accosted by the BIFF members, and joined the rescued hostages.

The 63 rescued civilians were brought to the Battalion Tactical Post of the 34th Infantry Battalion for proper disposition.

“At around 6:29pm yesterday, Barangay Malagakit was cleared of the presence of BIFF bandits,” said Major General ArnelDelavega, Commander of the Joint Task Force Central.

Elements of the 34th Infantry Battalion provided mortar fire support to the Simsiman Detachment in Barangay Simsiman, Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, and conducted blockade in Barangay Malagakit.

Troops from the 7th Infantry Battalion and the 34IB further engaged the BIFF members, while CAA members continue to exchange gunfire with the bandits, resulting in the wounding of one of its members, who was promptly given medical attention by the responding medical team.

“Air assets were also deployed to specific areas of engagement for close air support,” added MGenDelavega.

The exchange of gunfire yesterday, however, resulted in the death of a member of the Civilian Active Auxiliary and the wounding of two others, who were immediately brought by the responding troops to the Midsayap Diagnostic Center for medical attention.

Meanwhile, two BIFF members, identified as Jahren Mantukay, 23 years old, and BardurinLimba, 28 years old, were held by the troops of the 22nd Mechanized Company, 2nd Mechanized Battalion, Mechanized Division, Philippine Army on checkpoint in Butilin, DatuSalibo, Maguindanao at 9:20am yesterday.

Seized from Mantukay and Limba were two sachets of suspected shabu. Per information from the concerned individuals, the subjects are members of the BIFF Special Operation Group under a certain Palos and were often seen operating the motorized boat utilized by the BIFF for transportation and movement.

Mantukay and Limba, both resident of Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao. The arrested persons were then brought to DatuPiang Police Station for proper investigation and disposition.

Major General ArnelDela Vega, said that coordination was made with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the ceasefire committee as part of the area of engagement is occupied by the 105th Base Command of the MILF.

“As of press time, pursuit is continuously being conducted by the 602Bde, following the attack perpetrated by the BIFF bandits under Commander Abunawas, OB10, Abu Saide, Sala and Agila against the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team at an outpost in Barangay Malagakit at around 6am yesterday,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

“I commend the troops and policemen for their swift response over the problem and for driving away the BIFF without causing any injuries or harm to the civilians.”

“Much recognition also has to be given to the good Governor of Cotabato, Governor LalaTalino, and her staff for the fast and calibrated response over the tension yesterday.”

“It is now very evident that once a community and its leaders are united in fighting off bad elements of society, surely, evil will never triumph,” addedLtGen Galvez. (PR)