4 more soldiers hurt in blast during clearing operations at ex-BIFF camp
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Four more soldiers were injured in an explosion while conducting clearing operations inside a former stronghold of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Datu Salibo town, Maguindanao, the Army here said Thursday.
The new figure brought to 25 the number of soldiers injured in the Maguindanao operation since February 5. Four soldiers had also been killed since then.
Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, was visiting the front line and was addressing soldiers under the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion troopers in Barangay Tee when the explosion took place on Wednesday.
Minutes later, another explosion was heard, this time accompanied by radio calls for assistance as four troopers were injured.
“Actually, we have gained control of the BIFF stronghold in Barangay Tee but as it turned out, there is a mine field there,” Pangilinan said, adding that the danger of soldiers getting maimed has slowed down the clearing operations.
The presence of so many landmines, Pangilinan said, has been the same reason why the military has not allowed civilians to return to their homes yet.
He said the residents would only be allowed to come home after the complete removal of all the planted bombs in the area.
Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, the regional military spokesperson, said more than 40 improvised bombs had either been detonated, defused and exploded in Barangay Tee and its environs since the clearing operations started. SFM