BIFF commander, 28 others yield to Army
DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Maguindanao — A field commander of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and 28 others surrendered to military authorities and local officials in Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces over the weekend.
In Maguindanao, Lt. Col. Samuel Nadala Jr, commander of the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, presented to Col. Oriel Pangcog, commander of the Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade, the 23 BIFF gunmen during surrender rites at its headquarters in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao on Saturday.
Pangcog said immediate cash assistance was awarded to the former gunmen as their names are also being enrolled in the government’s reintegration program.
King Fahad, a former field commander of the BIFF-Bungos faction, and his followers handed over six high-powered firearms, including an M653 rifle, two caliber .30 Garand rifles, a caliber .50 Sniper rifle, and two M14 rifles.
Their surrender, according to Maj. Gen. Roy Galido, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, means that “the violent extremists saw that the government is sincerely implementing the reintegration program, hence, they were convinced to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law.”
In Midsayap town, Cotabato province, six BIFF members also surrendered to the military and were presented to Mayor Rolly Sacdalan.
Apart from Sacdalan, the surrenderers were also welcomed by 602nd Infantry Brigade deputy commander Col. Donald Gumiran, and 34th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Rey Rico during surrender rites at the municipal hall conference room.
“You made the right decision. Your government is ready to help you live normal lives,” Sacdalan told the surrenderers who belonged to the BIFF faction headed by Kagi Karialan.
Rico said the former BIFF gunmen turned in three M-14 assault rifles, two caliber .30 Garand rifles, an M2 Carbine rifle, and a homemade caliber .30 sniper rifle.
Each surrenderer received P20,000 livelihood assistance, food packs, and medical assistance from the local government of Midsayap.
From January to September this year, a total of 178 BIFF gunmen surrendered to the military in Central Mindanao, Army records showed.
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