Gov’t troops guard installations from BIFF in Maguindanao
COTABATO CITY — Government forces in Maguindanao have launched preemptive and reconnaissance patrols in the vicinity of military installations following renewed harassment by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Capt. Arvin Encinas, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said the reconnaissance patrol in Maguindanao’s adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Salibo and Mamasapano was a pro-active stance as the BIFF has launched series of “pocket offensives” in Datu Salibo and Datu Saudi Ampatuan towns over the
About 300 families fled their communities after they sighted members of the BIFF massing since Saturday.
Two Huey helicopters of the 12th Composite Air Support of the Philippine Air Force were seen hovering around Maguindanao on Sunday and early Monday to back ground troops.
Encinas said some civilians have reported the presence of foreigners in the company of BIFF in the so-called “SPMS box,” referring to the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak-Pagatin (Datu Saudi), Mamasapano and Datu Salibo.
The military still has to verify this report.
The BIFF harassment over the weekend, Encinas said, left one soldier injured after the bandits set off an improvised explosive device (IED) in Barangay Sambolawan, Datu Salibo town on Friday.
Encinas said an undetermined number of BIFF armed men also attacked at 7 p.m. the detachment of 57th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Sambolawan that injured Sgt. Greg Jordan.
A 10-minute firefight ensued until the gunmen fled.
It was the second harassment by suspected BIFF since last week. On Wednesday, an IED was set off by the BIFF in Barangay Timbangan, Datu Salibo that left a soldier injured.
“The BIFF is trying to prove it is still a force to reckon with so they conduct occasional harassment,” Encinas said. SFM/rga
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