Gov’t troops recover high-powered guns in Maguindanao clash
DAVAO CITY –– Government security forces recovered several high-powered guns as they clashed with suspected members of an Islamic State-affiliated armed group in Maguindanao on Tuesday, a military official said Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Rogelio Gabi, commander of the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion, said no casualty was reported when troops patrolling the remote village of Bulod, General Salipada Pendatun town clashed with an undetermined number of suspected Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) at 2 a.m. Tuesday.
Soldiers, however, recovered sophisticated guns left behind by state enemies; among them, a rocket-propelled grenade, a Barret rifle, an M79, an M14, two M16, four 7.62mm AR16, one pistol/submachine gun, eight magazines for AR, two M16 magazines, four Bandoliers, one hydro pack, a sling bag, a magazine for 9mm pistol/submachine gun, five cellular phones, 26-round cartridges of caliber .50 Ball, 89 rounds of 7.62mm Ball, 48 rounds of 5.56mm Ball, a Baofeng radio with a spare battery, and a Cygnus radio spare battery.
“We immediately deployed supplemental troops to reinforce the engaged soldiers,” Gabi said.
The BIFF, a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), has been operating in Maguindanao after its split from MILF, the country’s largest rebel group, in 2008. The MILF had signed a peace deal with the government that eventually led to the setting up of the expanded Bangsamoro autonomous region after the ratification of the new law governing it in a 2019 plebiscite.
“Due to our troops’ vantage position, the militants disengaged from the gunfight, bringing along their casualties with them,” Western Mindanao Command Chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. said.
Earlier, the military has tightened security across the region for possible retaliatory attacks following the deaths of BIFF bomb experts; among them, Abraham Abad Abdulrahman (alias Abu Suffian), suspected of the Cotabato city mall bombing in 2018.
Abdulrahman was killed after an alleged shootout with the police during a pre-dawn raid at his home in Cotabato City.
In the previous week, troops killed suspected BIFF bomb-maker Abdul Rashid Lamalan as the latter tried to smuggle an improvised bomb into the town of Isulan in nearby Sultan Kudarat province, according to Col. Roy Galido, commander of the Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade. With a report from Richel Umel, Inquirer Mindanao
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