MILF-BIFF clashes in Maguindanao claim 25 lives – military

August 15, 2017 - 7:26 AM
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MILF fighters (Reuters file)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao — Clashes between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Maguindanao province have claimed 25 lives thus far since hostilities broke out August 7 in Datu Salibo town, the military said.

Colonel Gerry Besana, civil military operations officer of the 6th Infantry Division said 20 of the dead were BIFF gunmen and followers of the Jamaatul Mujajideen Wal Ansar, a group that has reported pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, which is led by Esmail Abdulmalik, alias Abu Torayme.

Five fighters of the MILF’s 108th Base Command have also died and 10 others injured. Three MILF fighters in critical condition are being treated at an Army hospital.

Besana said their casualty count was based on a report from GPH-MILF ceasefire monitoring units in Maguindanao.

The fighting was triggered by the BIFF’s entry into an MILF-identified area in Barangay Tee in Datu Salibo.

The Army has been providing artillery support to the MILF.

The violence has sent civilians evacuating in Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, and Datu Piang towns.

Two other factions of the BIFF have issued separate appeals for a ceasefire.

Abu Misri Mama, speaking for one of the BIFF factions, called the fighting “nonsense.”

“It is not correct when Muslim mujahideen (freedom fighters) fight each other,” he said.