COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Five gunmen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and an Army soldier were killed in a clash over the weekend in Datu Unsay town, Maguindanao province, the military said.
A second soldier was wounded in the incident, which happened around 6 p.m. Saturday.
The 6th Infantry Division based in Datu Odin Sinsuat town said troops of its 64th Division Reconnaissance Company were conducting a security patrol in Barangay Maitumaig when they encountered some 50 gunmen in Sitio Perez, within the Mount Firis area.
Captain Arvin Jhon Encinas, 6th ID public affairs officer, said air and artillery strikes were conducted to support the engaged troops.
He said among the slain BIFF fighter was an Abu Omar, said to be a ranking officer of the group.
The soldiers recovered four M16 rifles and three improvised explosive devices from the BIFF.
The BIFF has been carrying out “retaliatory” attacks over the Christmas holidays.
The hostilities have sent some 300 families in the Mount Firis area fleeing their homes.