Thousands remain displaced as Army clears 3 towns of BIFF landmines
COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Thousands of civilians displaced by the week-long military assault against members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao still could not return home as government troops’ continue to search for and destroy landmines.
Colonel Dickson Hermoso, spokesperson for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that while they ended their offensive against followers of Ameril Umbra Kato, founder of the BIFF, ground troops, as of Monday, were clearing the areas in the towns of Datu Piang, Shariff Saydona Mustapha and Datu Salibo of explosives left behind by the rebels
“We will notify local officials if the areas affected by hostilities area already safe,” Hermoso said.
He said members of ARMM Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team have been working on the ground to assess the needs of people affected by the conflict.
More than 10,000 individuals were forced to leave their homes due to military assault that left over 51 rebels and a soldier killed.
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