Military launches air strikes in Maguindanao
DATU ODIN SINSUAT, MAGUINDANAO — The military has launched air strikes Saturday against pro-Islamic State (IS) rebels in Maguindanao as they intensified efforts to crush these militants operating in Mindanao.
Major Arvin Encinas, spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Division, told the Inquirer two OV-10 planes dropped eight 250-pound bombs on the position of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the marshy areas of Sultan sa Barongis town.
Residents in nearby Pigcauayan town in North Cotabato said they also saw two FA-50 jets dropping bombs in Liguasan Marsh early Saturday morning.
Encinas said the attacks started around 5 a.m. after ground troops positively pinpointed the location of their targets.
“We were able to hit their lair. I am waiting for the reports coming from the ground,” Encinas said.
Troops in the region were placed in full alert following intelligence reports indicating that 40 foreign jihadists had entered the region, according to ground military commander Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.
Sobejana said they received reports showing 30 to 40 foreign terrorists may have set foot in their area of operations.
“The Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters operates in these provinces. The group is behind the series of bombings in the region,” Sobejana said.
The BIFF, with hundreds of fighters, split from the 10,000-member Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2008. BIFF pledged allegiance to IS, but did not send fighters to Marawi./lzb
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