Up to 800 MILF fighters fought SAF men in Mamasapano – BOI head | Inquirer News
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Up to 800 MILF fighters fought SAF men in Mamasapano – BOI head

/ 11:41 AM February 25, 2015
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BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF KILLING FIELD The flat cornfields of Mamasapano town in Maguindanao province, where 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force were pinned down and killed on Jan. 25 in clashes with Moro rebels, as seen from a hovering drone. REM ZAMORA/INQUIRER

MAMASAPANO, Maguindanao, Philippines – The head of the police’s Board of Inquiry (BOI) investigating the January 25 clash here said as many as 800 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters battled 72 police commandos on that fateful day.

Director Benjamin Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he had confirmed that the MILF members were from at least three base commands: the 118th, 105th and 106th.

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A total of 44 members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) were killed in the incident, along with 18 rebels and five civilians.

Magalong said that when fighting broke out at about 7 a.m. of January 25, MILF residents of Tukanalipao and surrounding areas rushed to the area and joined the fighting.

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In his testimony before the Senate, then SAF commander Director Getulio Napeñas said he insisted that the military fire artillery support for the embattled commandos, apparently owing to the superior number of opposing forces.

Combined forces of the MILF and the outlaw Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) had reportedly surrounded two groups of SAF members.

Napeñas insisted that his men might not have suffered so many casualties had the military fired heavy guns at the rebels.

But the military said it did not have the needed information to fire their howitzers at the attackers.

“We hope we can talk directly to an MILF field commander so we can also get their side,” Magalong said.

He said based on the initial findings, about 700 to 800 MILF members were involved in the firefight.

The BOI is currently in Maguindanao to conduct its own investigation on the incident.

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TAGS: armed groups, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Basit Usman, Benjamin Magalong, BIFF, bloodshed, carnage, Ceasefire, clash, covert operations, Crime, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Datu Saudi Ampatuan municipality, Encounter, fact finding, gun battle, inquiry, investigation, Justice, law, law enforcement, Local authorities, Local Governments, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, Mamasapano mission, manhunt for terrorists, Marwan, Massacre, massacre of policemen, mayor, MILF, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, multiple murder, Murder, peace process, Philippine National Police, pursuit operations, Samsudin Dimaukom, Special Action Force, Wahid Tundok, Zulkifli bin Hir
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