CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – A member of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) terrorist group has surrendered in North Cotabato, bringing with him a crew-served 60-mm mortar launching pad, the military here said Wednesday.
In a report, Lt. Col. Edgardo Vilchez Jr, commander of the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion (34IB), said “Alias Omar” voluntarily came forward to surrender Tuesday afternoon in Barangay Salunayan, Midsayap, North Cotabato.
Omar belonged to the BIFF-Kagui Karialan faction and his surrender was made possible through the joint efforts of the Midsayap town’s government, through the help of the 34IB.
The BIFF group of Karialan operates in the border of Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces, Vilchez said.
He said exhaustion from fighting a futile cause prompted the surrender of Omar who just wanted to be with his family again.
Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) commander, lauded the efforts of the Midsayap officials and the 34IB who facilitated the surrender of the BIFF combatant.
“We genuinely recognize our partner stakeholders, especially the local executives and community leaders, in your long-drawn effort and contribution in countering violent extremism in your area,” Uy, also the commander of the Army-led Joint Task Force Central, said in a statement.
“The surrender of the former rebel is an indication that the stronghold of the BIFF is continuously weakening as more of their members are now returning to the fold of the law,” Uy added.
The surrenderer is currently undergoing debriefing, and the processing of his livelihood packages from government programs is also ongoing to help him start a new peaceful life with mainstream society. (PNA)