2 dead as Moro rebs attack Army base in Maguindanao
SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao — A 60-year-old man and his 13-year-old grandson were killed as members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) fired at houses and a military detachment in Barangay Timbangan here on Sunday night, police said.
Unti Kamama and his grandson, Mohammad, died from bullet and shrapnel wounds after the Islamic State (IS)-inspired BIFF under one Commander Bungos attacked a detachment of the 40th Infantry Battalion at 9 p.m. on Sunday in Timbangan, some 10 kilometers north of the town center.
Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, provincial director of the Maguindanao police, said a band of BIFF militants fired at the houses near the detachment, killing the Kamamas and wounding seven others, as another group of rebels attacked the soldiers manning the base.
Abu Misry Mama, spokesperson for the BIFF, confirmed his group was behind the attack here on Sunday.
Of the wounded, four were preschool children who lived near the military outpost, and a soldier, Private First Class Clinton Rigor.
The group, however, failed to overrun the detachment.
Shariff Aguak government said at least 30 families fled their houses when the fighting ensued. These families, however, returned home on Monday.
Maj. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, said the BIFF’s most recent attacks were meant to avenge the deaths of more than 30 of their members, who were killed in joint Army and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) operations in September.
The MILF, which refused plans of militants to hoist IS flags in their area, had joined forces with government soldiers in a campaign to flush out IS supporters in Maguindanao.
Shariff Aguak Mayor Marop Ampatuan asked the town’s social welfare office to take care of the needs of wounded civilians and ensure that families who fled their homes would be assisted.
He appealed to the BIFF to spare civilians from hostilities. He convened the town’s peace and order council to discuss measures to ensure the safety of residents.—EDWIN O. FERNANDEZ
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