Weapon taken from SAF kills Army men, BIFF claims
COTABATO CITY – A lightweight artillery weapon taken from police commandos slain in the January 25 Mamasapano incident was used in killing Army soldiers in Maguindanao Sunday, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) claimed yesterday.
Abu Misri Mama, spokesperson of the BIFF, said they used the weapon, a 90-mm recoilless rifle, in shooting an Army truck in Maguindanao.
“I cannot say how many soldiers were killed but we fired a 90 recoilless rifle that hit an Army 6-by-6 truck and all those on board were killed,” Mama told the Inquirer.
Army Col. Melquiades Feliciano, 601st Brigade commander, earlier said that they lost two men when rebels ambushed a military “ambulance” in the town of Datu Shariff Saydona.
But Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, denied that any of the military’s 6 x 6 trucks were hit by fire from a 90-mm recoilless rifle.
“Walang nangyaring ganyan,” she said.
Mama boasted that the weapon, a portable artillery piece originally intended for tanks and armored vehicles, was taken from members of the Special Action Force (SAF) killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, after the operation to get top terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Basit Usman.
Forty-four SAF men from the 84th and 55th Special Action Companies of the Philippine National Police were killed when gunmen from the BIFF, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and some local private armies attacked them after they killed Marwan.
The gunmen stripped the slain policemen of their guns, which included a recoilless rifle, clothing and even personal belongings.
The MILF, which is engaged in a peace process with the government, later returned some of the guns. The recoilless rifle had yet to be returned and its whereabouts undetermined.
BACKSTORY: MILF returns 16 SAF arms so far
Feliciano said the ambush on the military vehicle took place as other Army units engaged BIFF fighters in a firefight in Barangay (village) Malangob, Datu Unsay town, which is adjacent to Datu Shariff Saydona and Mamasapano.
The Army official said that in that firefight, which also happened on Sunday, the military killed 23 BIFF rebels, including three top officials. CB
Updated @ 11:12 a.m., March 30, 2015, to include military’s denial of 90-mm recoilless rifle attack on its trucks.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
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.