2 civilians, 3 soldiers hurt in clash between Army, BIFF in Maguindanao
COTABATO CITY – Two civilians and three soldiers, including an Army captain, were injured in a clash between Army men and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) rebels in Maguindanao over the weekend.
Lt. Col. Warlito Limet, 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion commander, said the Army captain, whom he refused to name, was leading a team of soldiers responding to the report of the burning of construction equipment in Datu Salibo town in Maguindanao when fired at by the rebels on Friday.
Limet said the BIFF torched a backhoe used in dredging operations in Barangay Butilen, Datu Salibo at 4 p.m. Friday. As the soldiers were heading toward the river side, they discovered improvised bombs and land mines along the route, forcing them to stop.
While Army bomb experts were working on the IEDs, they were fired at by BIFF snipers using a Barret cal. 50. This forced the Army to fire howitzers and mortars with the BIFF, under Commander Bungos, firing rifle grenades.
Sporadic firefight ensued overnight until dawn Saturday that left two civilians wounded, identified by local leaders as Mammex Indiong, 30, and Tammy Musarup, 19, who were hit by stray bullets in their feet.
Mayor Norodin Salazar of Datu Salibo also told reporters that about 1,500 families have evacuated from four adjoining villages of Butilen, Sambolawan, Tee and Andabit, all in Datu Salibo.
Col. Felicisimo Budiongan, 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade commander, said the BIFF was opposed to the dredging of Butilen river and the bridge construction as this would mean easy access for military troops and vehicles.
But Abu Misri Mama, BIFF spokesperson, denied his group opposed the project. He said the BIFF was protecting its members whose lands were used by the road construction firm without proper compensation. SFM
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