Child killed as Moro rebels attack Army post in Maguindanao

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03:30 PM July 23rd, 2013

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By: Edwin Fernandez, July 23rd, 2013 03:30 PM

Ameril Umbra Kato, right, the commander of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, the breakaway faction of the largest Filipino Muslim rebel group, leads his men in prayers inside his rebel stronghold in Maguindanao. AP FILE PHOTO

COTABATO CITY—A child was killed and a farmer wounded when members of a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front attacked an Army detachment in Maguindanao while many Maguindanaons were glued to their television or radio sets as President Benigno Aquino III delivered his State of the Nation Address on Monday, the military said Tuesday.

Colonel Dickson Hermoso, speaking for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division based here, said members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters fired rifle grenades at a roadside detachment of the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Battalion in Barangay Elian in Datu Saudi around 4:30 p.m. and escaped immediately.

The blasts sent people living in the neighborhood into panic.

A child and a farmer, who were living near the detachment, were wounded in the incident. The child died later at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center while the farmer remained in critical condition.

BIFF spokesperson Abu Misry Mama denied any involvement of his organization in the attack. “We were not involved. If we were, I would admit… it in public,” Mama said.

Following the incident, soldiers conducted foot patrols and urged civilians to help the Army contain lawless elements so they would not be disrupted in their religious activities. The attack occurred as Muslims were observing daylong Ramadan fasting.

Hermoso said the Army was saddened by Moro guerillas’ harassment of Army positions that also affected civilians.

The BIFF is a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is negotiating a peace agreement with the government.

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