CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Four more members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were killed in separate clashes in Maguindanao, the military here said Saturday.
Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said with the four latest BIFF fatalities, the number of terrorists killed has risen to 20 since intermittent clashes with government troops began on March 18.
Uy said the battle-tested members of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion (1SRB) clashed with about 40 BIFF gunmen in Barangay Saniag, Ampatuan, Maguindanao on Friday.
“The villagers alerted the Army about the presence of the terrorists in their community,” he told reporters here in an interview.
Uy said the terrorists later fled, leaving behind two dead comrades.
A report by Lt. Col. Raymond Rapi, 1SRB commanding officer, said the clash site, which had several foxholes, served as an advance command post leading to a BIFF bomb-making hideout in the interiors of the village.
In the same report, Rapi said his men found three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) ready for disposal and bomb-making components, mobile phones, and personal items in the hideout located some 500 meters away from the BIFF command post.
Two hours later, troopers of the 1SRB clashed again with another band of BIFF, led by Salahuddin Salman alias Abu Saif that left one BIFF combatant dead.
While the firefight was raging, another group of soldiers was deployed to serve as blocking force and clashed with another group of BIFF, based on a separate report by Brig. Gen. Roy Galido, 602nd Infantry Brigade commander.
A BIFF combatant was slain in that encounter, Galido said.
Meanwhile, soldiers under the 40th Infantry Battalion recovered four more IEDs in Barangay Salman, also in the same town, left unattended by the BIFF and were properly deactivated by Army bomb experts.
A total of seven IEDs were recovered during the military clearing operations in the two villages, Uy said. (PNA)