BIFF sets off bomb on soldiers in Maguindanao; no one hurt
COTABATO CITY – Another improvised explosive device was set off by the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in a remote village in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, while soldiers were running after a band of BIFF members Wednesday afternoon.
Capt. Arvin John Encinas, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division, said nobody was hurt in the 4 p.m. blast in Barangay Upam.
Two hours earlier, elements of the 57th Infantry Battalion and the 1st Mechanized Battalion clashed with undetermined number of BIFF.
Encinas said no casualty was reported from both sides.
Abu Misri Mama, BIFF spokesperson, said seven soldiers and one BIFF member were killed during the Army offensives.
“We destroyed one Armored tank,” he said.
He also denied reports that about 20 BIFF men were killed.
Earlier, the Army said it was verifying reports from village officials and ground troops that about 20 bandits were killed in the “surgical” law enforcement operation.
Wednesday’s roadside bomb explosion in Shariff Aguak was the seventh since Friday when the Army’s Task Force Central launched air and ground assaults against the BIFF in Barangay Tee, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.
Earlier, roadside bombs exploded in Datu Salibo that damaged an armored personnel carrier and injured seven soldiers. It was followed by roadside bombings in the towns of Datu Hofer, Rajah Buayan, Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Shariff Aguak.
Four police were seriously hurt during a roadside bombing in the public market of Rajah Buayan Tuesday that the police blamed on the BIFF.
Mama denied his group was behind the Raja Buayan bombing. “That was the handiwork of drug syndicates,” he said, claiming responsibility for all roadside bombing directed at the military.
Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director, and Mayor Zamsamin Ampatuan of Rajah Buayan believed the bomb attack against the police could be the handiwork of drug syndicates whose drug den was dismantled in an operation on May 2. A mother, her two children and a drug suspect were killed in the operation.
Maj. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, 6th Infantry Division commander, said Task Force Central has been hunting down Indonesian terrorist sighted in the company of BIFF in Maguindanao.
The six Jemaah Islamiya members are being protected by Sheik Ismael Abubakar, alias Commander Bungos, the new BIFF leader vice Omra Kato, according to Dela Vega. SFM
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