Bangsamoro Region

4 BIFF gunmen slain, 3 soldiers hurt in Maguindanao skirmishes

FLEEING. Civilians haul their valuables and animals as government forces and the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters trade bullets and mortars beside the national highway in Barangay Kitango, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao on Thursday morning (March 18, 2021). At least 100 families from Kitango and the nearby villages fled their homes due to intermittent clashes that occurred until Friday (Mar. 19, 2021) in the area. (Photo courtesy of Meonah Salam of Barangay Kitango)

COTABATO CITY: The skirmishes that began Thursday morning between government forces and the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) resulted in the death of four terrorists and the wounding of three soldiers, the military said Friday.

Lt. Colonel Karl John Baldomar, speaking for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the intermittent clashes erupted after the soldiers responded to the presence of some 30 BIFF gunmen in Barangay Kitango,  Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

“The BIFF have been sighted in the village of Kitango, the most populated village of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, so troopers under the Army’s 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade went there to verify but were fired upon,” Baldomar said.

The BIFF gunmen under the Kagui Karialan faction were plotting to overrun a detachment of Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) in Barangay Kitango, he said.

The JPST is composed of personnel from the Philippine Army, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and local police that functions as peacekeeping forces in ensuring the security of residents within the six government-acknowledged MILF camps in Central Mindanao.

He added that the BIFF also set ablaze several homes abandoned by its residents a day earlier that resulted to the evacuation of some 100 families from Kitango and the nearby villages.

Mosib Tan, the municipal administrator of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, said the displaced families were already given emergency assistance. 

(Edwin Fernandez/PNA/SRNY/RSP)

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