Army to send troops to intervene, stop BIFF-MILF clashes | Inquirer News
Close  

Army to send troops to intervene, stop BIFF-MILF clashes

DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Maguindanao, Philippines – The military has decided to step into the situation in Pikit, North Cotabato, and Pagalungan, Maguindanao, where a group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has been battling it out with Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters rebels to protect civilian lives and properties, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. said here.

Catapang, who came here for Wednesday’s turnover by the MILF of 16 firearms taken from slain Special Action Force troops during the Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash, has announced the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division will send soldiers to intervene and to stop the hostilities.

ADVERTISEMENT

Since last week, MILF members and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) gunmen have been clashing in remote areas of Pikit and Pagalungan, sending thousands of people fleeing to safety.

At least seven Pikit villages have become virtual ghost areas when BIFF gunmen came in and torched houses. The BIFF also occupied about the same number of villages in Pagalungan, a town adjacent to Pikit.

FEATURED STORIES

“We have to look into this. While it could only be clan war, we have to step in to put a stop to the fight,” Catapang said.

He said the sending in of troops would have to be properly coordinated as well.

“We are also at war with the BIFF so we have look into this so as not to complicate things,” he added.

North Cotabato Governor Lala Mendoza said more than 20,000 people from Pikit town and Pagalungan, Maguindanao, were displaced in the fighting caused by a rift between the BIFF and MILF’s Commander Jack Abas.

So far, six MILF members – including Datukong Ampuan, an MILF commander, had been killed. The BIFF casualty was unclear.

“The ongoing tension in Pikit and Pagalungan is not a fight with the MILF. Our enemy here is only Commander Jack Abas because he vowed to push us out of the area in exchange of money,” BIFF spokesperson Abu Misri Mama said by phone.

Mama said Abas launched the attack after North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza gave the MILF commander money to finance the operation against the BIFF.

ADVERTISEMENT

Mendoza had denied Mama’s allegations saying the BIFF might have misinterpreted the projects the provincial government has been implementing in the remote areas of Pikit.

“Abas is a very feudal man, like a datu. He does not want anyone to threaten his influence in the same territory, most especially if this person is his former subordinate,” Mama said.

Abas has maintained that the operation was against BIFF elements involved in criminality.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Abu Misry Mama, Armed conflict, Armed Forces of the Philippines, armed groups, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, Governor, Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., Insurgency, Jack Abas, Local authorities, Local Governments, Maguindanao, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro rebellion, News, North Cotabato, Pagalungan, Pikit, rebellion, Regions, turf war
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.