Eight members of the Daesh-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were killed as government forces launched on Thursday air and ground assaults against the group in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
The air strikes by two Augusta Westland helicopters and artillery bombardment on Thursday also sent more than a hundred families fleeing from the villages of Kitango and Salbu.
Major General Arnel Dela Vega, Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Central commander, on Friday said six BIFF bandits were killed by air strikes and ground assaults that started at 5 a.m. Thursday and lasted until after lunch time.
But residents and village watchmen reported to the ground troops that eight BIFF rebels were confirmed killed.
The target of the air strikes and artillery bombardment from 105-mm howitzers and 81-mm mortars was the Karialan faction of the BIFF led by a certain Commander Peni.
While the fighting rages, another faction of suspected BIFF rebels attacked a military outpost in Barangay Labu-Labu in nearby Shariff Aguak town, Maguindanao and an Army based in Barangay Nabalawag, Midsayap, North Cotabato.
There was no casualty in the attack that took place at around 2 pm Thursday at the detachment in Barangay Labu-Labu.
Two soldiers identified as a certain TSgt. Aquino and Cpl. Deligero of the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion were injured when two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle fired rifle grenade around 4 pm, also Thursday, at the detachment in Nabalawag, Midsayap.
“It was diversionary tactics of the BIFF,” an Army intelligence official disclosed. PNA