Army foils smuggling of bullets for BIFF, arrests 3 in Maguindanao
COTABATO CITY—Government soldiers manning a checkpoint on Sunday (May 2) foiled an attempt to smuggle ammunition for Islamic State-linked gunmen in Maguindanao, the Army said.
Major Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said soldiers from the 33rd Infantry Battalion detachment in Datu Saydona Mustapha town flagged down a sedan for regular inspection at the checkpoint.
The soldiers noticed the three men aboard the car to be uneasy and visibly nervous, prompting a thorough check.
When the driver was asked to open the car’s compartment, soldiers found boxes of ammunition, Uy said.
The hoard consisted of some 6,000 rounds of 5.56-millimeter ammunition which are also used for Armalite assault rifles.
The ammunition was believed to be for a buyer in the towns of Mamasapano and Datu Salibo where Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) operates. BIFF is an armed group composed of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters who broke off from the MILF over disagreements with peace talks with the government. BIFF has since linked up with IS.
The BIFF had been “creating noise” in the so-called SPMS box (adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin or Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Mamasapano and Shariff Saydona Mustapha) to show that it was still a force to reckon with, according to Lt. Col. John Paul Baldomar, 6th ID spokesperson.
The Army is now in possession of the car and the ammunition which would be used as evidence to prosecute the suspects.
The discovery of the ammunition was preceded by a roadside bombing by the BIFF targeting a military convoy in Guindulungan town, also in Maguindanao.
Nobody was hurt among the soldiers but an Army truck was damaged.
On Saturday, the BIFF also set off an improvised bomb that left a civilian slightly wounded, said Baldomar.
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