After JIM, Usman now with BIFF, says military
MANILA, Philippines–Wanted terrorist Basit Usman left the protection of the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) terror group and linked up with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) last week, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The JIM is a breakaway group of the BIFF, which itself had broken away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). JIM leader Mohammad Ali Tambako was captured by a joint military-police force in General Santos City on Sunday and flown to Manila for inquest.
Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, AFP spokesman, said Usman was with the BIFF under leader Kagi Karialan and one alias “Bungos,” and had not moved outside the “SPMS box,” or Salvo, Pagatin, Mamasapano and Shariff Aguak areas cordoned off by the military.
Kakilala said Usman left Tambako’s group and joined the BIFF on Thursday after three of his relatives, including a young nephew, were killed in a clash between the JIM and the military.
“He is still there,” Kakilala said. “Usman linked up with BIFF leaders Karialan and Bungos last week after he grew suspicious of Tambako’s group.”
Kakilala said the BIFF and JIM, which have received a tremendous beating in the military’s all-out offensive in Maguindanao and North Cotabato, have splintered into small groups to evade pursuing troops.
Kakilala put the Karialan group’s strength at 70.
He said the government troops were confident Usman would be captured soon based on intelligence leads.
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