A member of the IS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was killed and four firearms were recovered as advancing government troops continue their pursuit operation against the terror group in the interiors of Maguindanao province.
Capt. Arvin John Encinas, Army’s 6th Infantry Division spokesman, said the latest in the series of clashes since July 1 occurred Wednesday (July 4) at the border of Mamasapano and Rajah Buayan towns where a BIFF militant was killed and four firearms were recovered from the fleeing extremists.
At 6 a.m. Wednesday, military helicopter gunships pounded on BIFF positions in the boundary of Barangay Sapakan, Mamasapano, and Pidsandawan, Rajah Buayan, on efforts to flush out the lawless group in the area.
“We will not give them (BIFF) time to rest,” Encinas said, adding that members of the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion (IB) are still in the area for clearing operations.
“We have one (BIFF) body count and four firearms recovered but we believe the terrorists have sustained multiple casualties,” he said, noting that the BIFF group, headed by Imam Minimbang alias “Kagui Karialan” has splintered to smaller clusters, to avoid detection from pursuing soldiers.
At least four other BIFF insurgents were reported killed in separate running gun battles in the interiors of the affected towns of Shariff Aguak, Mamasapano, Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, and Datu Paglas.
On Tuesday, troopers from the Army’s 2nd Mechanized IB overran a camp in Sitio Mahad Buhos, Barangay Pusao, Shariff Saydona Mustapha town. The insurgents withdrew from the camp due to intense military air and ground assaults, said Lt. Col. Alvin Iyog.
The BIFF operates mainly in the so-called “SPMS box” of the province referring to the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak-Pagatin (Datu Saudi), Mamasapano and Datu Salibo.
Since July 1, the government side has recorded one soldier killed in action and six others wounded, Encinas said.
Some 1,000 families were also reported to have evacuated so far from the towns of Datu Paglas, Mamasapano, Rajah Buayan, and Shariff Saydona Mustapha. PNA