10 BIFF men, 2 soldiers killed in North Cotabato clash
MANILA, Philippines–Ten members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and two soldiers were killed in an encounter in a North Cotabato town on Thursday.
The commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, Brig. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, said the gun battle broke out at about 6:40 a.m. Thursday in Barangay Palongoguen, Midsayap town.
The night before, BIFF members harassed an Army detachment in the area at around 10 p.m. Wednesday.
“The enemy side suffered around 10 casualties. We don’t have a body count, our information is based on what we got from the residents,” Pangilinan claimed.
Around 20 BIFF rebels harassed and attacked the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion detachment on Wednesday night, with no casualties in the initial attack.
The Army engaged the BIFF on Thursday morning during a two-hour pursuit operation.
On the government side, two soldiers were killed while six were wounded, Pangilinan said.
The official said the military has been pursuing the remaining BIFF rebels who engaged the soldiers in the gun battle.
“Our troops are still scouring the area,” Pangilinan said.
The BIFF is a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. While the MILF is in peace talks with the governments, the BIFF opposes the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which President Aquino submitted to Congress on Wednesday.
Pangilinan said the attack might be related to the draft law, noting that “every time there is a breakthrough in the peace process, they conduct offensive attacks and terroristic activities not only against our soldiers but civilians.”
“They should put a stop to these atrocities and let’s give this peace a chance. The process is going on very well, we can see the peace and development. Many investors are coming in central Mindanao now, they should join our peace-loving people,” the military official added.
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