Maguindanao civilians asked to help in stopping BIFF 'atrocities' | Inquirer News
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Maguindanao civilians asked to help in stopping BIFF ‘atrocities’

/ 09:04 PM February 18, 2016

COTABATO CITY – The military rallied civilians in Maguindanao, on Thursday, to support its campaign to crush the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), saying the group’s atrocities have been aimed, not only at soldiers these days but at non-combatants as well.

“This is clearly terrorism and we need the support of all people before we all become victims of this dastardly act,” Capt. Joann Petinglay, 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, said.

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Petinglay issued the appeal for cooperation between soldiers and Maguindanao civilians following Tuesday’s deadly blast in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, which killed four persons – including the treasurer of Datu Salibo town and his son.

Lt. Colonel Warlito Limet, 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion commander, said Datu Salibo town treasurer Caloy Macabangen, his son Kenken, Alex Apas, Bensar Agapay and several other companions, were coming from Cotabato City and were heading toward Datu Salibo but initially backed off due to an intense fire fight between soldiers and BIFF. Then, an improvised explosive device exploded at 10:30 p.m. in Barangay Lower Salbu in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, hitting the Mitsubishi Delica van carrying the group and killing Macabangen, Kenken, Apas and Agapay.

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Three other passengers of the van were hurt and rushed by government forces to the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in Cotabato City, Limet said.

“The conflict is going outside the battle zones in Datu Salibo and getting closer to civilian populace, so we all need to cooperate to thwart this,” Petinglay said.

The military officer said said that through the bombings, the BIFF has been aiming to deprive communities of development projects, including the dredging project attacked by the armed group earlier this week.

“The dredging project is for all of you, the soldiers will leave the area once it is finished,” Petinglay said.

In further illustrating how the BIFF emerged into a terror group that should concern every one, Petinglay cited yet another bombing attempt in Gindulungan town around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

An alert infantryman noticed a bag left unattended by the roadside. Army bomb experts quickly responded and confimed the bag contained a bomb and then defused it, Colonel Feliciano Budiongan, 601st Army brigade commander, said.

Had it exploded, the bomb could have maimed or injured civilians anew, Petinglay said.

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Also on Wednesday, another IED exploded at a roadside in Barangay Crossing Taviran, about 700 meters away from an Army detachment and in an area frequented by motorists, Budiongan said.

“Fortunately, no civilian commuter was hurt in the blast,” he said.

The IED, Budiongan said, was made of black powder, concrete nails, electrical wiring and chains for motorcycles.

Budiongan named the special operations group of the BIFF, led by Commander Abu Nasria, as the one setting off IEDs even in civilian areas.

BIFF spokesperson Abu Misri Mama denied his group was behind the roadside bombings, including the one that took place in Datu Saudi Ampatuan on Tuesday evening.

But Petinglay said the military believed otherwise.

“They (BIFF) cannot sustain skirmishes with government troops so they are into diversionary tactics,” she said.  SFM

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TAGS: 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, 601st Army Brigade, 6th Infantry Division, Abu Misry Mama, Abu Nasria, Acts of terror, anti-terror campaign, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, BIFF, Bombing, counter-insurgency operation, Crime, crime victims, Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan municipality, Feliciano Budiongan, IED, Improvised explosive device, Joann Petinglay, Justice, law, law enforcement, Maguindanao, manhunt for terrorists, Military, military operation, News, peace and order situation, Philippine Army, pursuit operations, Regions, roadside bombs, Security, Terrorism, terrorist attacks, Warlito Limet
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