Troops kill alleged members of BIFF breakaway faction

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr.

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced that soldiers killed three members of a faction of a breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and also discovered a “terrorist lair” in two separate operations in Maguindanao over the weekend.

Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of the AFP Western Mindanao Command, said troops from the Joint Task Force Central were conducting military operations when they encountered more or less 10 BIFF members under Muslimin Amilil, alias Mus, of the 2nd Division of the Karialan faction.

The Karialan faction is one of three groups that broke away from the main BIFF group. It has been tagged by the military as a terrorist group after it has allied itself with the Islamic State.

“Firefight ensued at Sitio Proper, Barangay Linantangan, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao at about 5:52 a.m., Sunday, which resulted in the deaths of three BIFF militants,” Vinluan said.

Soldiers who scoured the clash site recovered the bodies of the three BIFF members, whose identities the military is still trying to ascertain in coordination with the local police and officials, according to Vinluan.

The troops also recovered three .45-caliber pistols, two hand grenades, eight grams of crystalline substance believed to be shabu and P1,000 ($20.62) in cash.

The recovered bodies and weapons were brought to the First Mechanized Battalion headquarters “for identification, documentation and proper disposition.”

On Saturday, soldiers on combat operations also discovered an abandoned terrorist lair at Sitio Tubak, Barangay Saniag, Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

The lair is situated in an area along the hillside and is believed to be owned by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), according to Westmincom Spokesman Lt. Col. Alaric Avelino delos Santos.

Delos Santos said that Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Joint Task Force Central, informed Vinluan that the lair can accommodate at least 80 persons to 100 persons.

It has more or less a dozen foxholes, three overhead bunkers, eight bunkers, three guard posts and running trenches, reports from the Westmincom revealed.

While searching the area, soldiers recovered one bandoleer, four magazine pouches, one short magazine, one pressurized improvised explosive device, a pair of combat boots, one butane stove, backpack, pants, ICOM antenna, kettle, Quranic book, pail, iron stove stand, solar panel, whiteboard and suspected homemade bomb components.

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