Teduray folk flee fighting in Maguindanao del Sur

Teduray folk flee fighting in Maguindanao del Sur

Suspected DI gunmen attack police station after ambush in Maguindanao del Sur

Maguindanao del Sur. INQUIRER FILES

COTABATO CITY—The armed skirmishes that continued to rage between government troops and those of the extremist Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in several towns in Maguindanao del Sur province have brought about a new wave of evacuation among the Teduray community in the area, leaders of the indigenous peoples (IP) revealed.

Froilyn Mendoza, member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament, said on Sunday that at least 24 Teduray households fled their homes in Barangay Sayap in Datu Hoffer town, in the ensuing clashes that followed the ambush that killed four soldiers in the adjacent Barangay Tuayan 1 on March 17.


She said these families fled to neighboring safe areas because they feared being caught in the crossfire as soldiers pursued the BIFF fighters.


The number of displaced families could go higher, according to tribe leaders.

Timuay Alim Bandara, a member of the Minted sa Inged (Supreme Council) of the Timuay Justice and Governance of the Teduray-Lambangian tribe, said in a separate interview that they were still verifying the exact number of the displaced as the continued operations of the military also affected residents in the neighboring remote villages of Saniag in Ampatuan town and Ahan in Guindulungan town.

“Our initial information is some people have been dislocated by the recent operations by the military in pursuit of (those who carried out the ambush),” he told Inquirer. “These are remote communities in the boundary areas of the three towns, but we are still waiting for more details from our leaders in the area,” Bandara added.

Bandara said that so far, 81 Teduray families from Sitio Liyunen and another 37 families from Sitio Ugafuk, both of Barangay Saniag in Ampatuan, fled their homes and evacuated to a safer place in the same barangay since the start of the military operations in the area.

Retaliatory attack

The BIFF, which owned up to the March 17 ambush, claimed to have launched a grenade attack on an army detachment in Datu Saudi Ampatuan on Saturday in retaliation to the death of one of its members.

Abu Supyan, the spokesperson of the BIFF Kagi Karialan Faction, told the Inquirer by phone on Sunday that they launched the grenade attack to retaliate for the death of Abu Halil, whom the military identified as the training officer of the BIFF Kagi Karialan faction.


Halil died in a 20-minute clash with soldiers in Sitio Binakuyan, Barangay Lower Salbu around 2:30 a.m. on Friday.

Supyan claimed they attacked the military detachment in the area on Saturday night, part of which was burned after they launched a grenade launcher using Rocket Propelled Grenade.

“We retaliate because they killed one of our members who was just passing by along civilian houses in Elian village in Datu Saudi Ampatuan,” Supyan said in Filipino.

But Lt. Col. Dennis Almorato, the spokesman of the 6th Infantry Division, said no such attack happened. He said, however, that soldiers launched mortar attacks against BIFF members believed to be still hiding in Pamalian village in Shariff Saydona Mustapha town.

READ: BIFF trainer slain in clash with gov’t troops in Maguindanao del Sur

Earlier, Brig. Gen. Jose Vladimir Caraga, commander of the Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, identified Abu Halil as the brother of Khadafi Abdulatif, chief of staff of Ustadz Kagi Karialan.

BIFF, a breakaway group of the now government-allied Moro Islamic Liberation Front, was founded by Ustadz Ameril Omra Kato in 2010. Following Kato’s death in 2015, the BIFF splintered into three factions, with the faction led by Karialan closely identified with the global terror network Islamic State.

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The Karialan faction has been known to operate mainly in the Maguindanao del Sur towns of Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Shariff Aguak, Mamasapano and Shariff Saydona Mustapha. INQ

TAGS: evacuate, fighting, Maguindanao del Sur

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