6 Moro gunmen yield to Army in Maguindanao del Norte
COTABATO CITY — Six gunmen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) surrendered Wednesday to the military in Maguindanao del Norte.
Claiming they were deceived to join a group espousing a wrong ideology, the six Moro extremists laid down their guns and pledged allegiance to the country’s flag and Constitution during surrender rites at the headquarters of the Army’s First Brigade Combat Team in Barangay Pigcalagan, Sultan Kudarat town.
“Five of them were members of BIFF and one from Dawlah Islamiyah-Abu Turaife faction,” said Lieutenant Colonel Rommel Agpaoa, commander of the Army’s 92nd Infantry Battalion.
The Abu Turaife faction of the BIFF is a radical group operating in Mindanao that had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and was tagged in the series of bombings in the region in the past years.
Agpaoa presented them to Brigadier General Leodivic Guinid, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team and witnessed by representatives from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and local governments in Cotabato province.
Before their surrender, the Moro extremists’ area of operation were parts of Cotabato and Maguindanao del Norte provinces.
Agpaoa said the gunmen turned in three sniper rifles, a grenade launcher, and a rifle grenade.
Guinid lauded troops from the 92nd IB for “reaching out to the local terrorists and convincing them that peace gives more dividends than fighting a lost cause.”
Major General Alex Rillera, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, said the government’s whole-of-nation approach in dealing with the state’s armed enemies is gaining headway.
“We are expanding this program in south-central Mindanao. The peace dividends are inviting to extremists so they keep coming out which is a good indicator,” said Rillera.
Since January 2023, about 80 Moro extremists have surrendered to the 6th ID. They came from Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, Sarangani, and Lanao del Sur provinces.