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61 dead, 60 wounded as military ops vs. BIFF continue in Maguindanao

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 10th, 2018

Courtesy of LT. Col. Harold Cabunoc Fb account

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines – The military’s surgical operation against ISIS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) continue for the tenth day on Tuesday (July 11).

The armed conflict began on Monday (July 2) following a firefight that broke out at Dapiawan Elementary School in the town of Datu Saudi-Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

According to UNTV sources, four soldiers on the side of the government were killed-in-action and 20 others were wounded.

Meanwhile, 57 BIFF members were neutralized by the military and 40 others were wounded, according to the source.

The military, so far, has recovered 20 high-powered firearms and 10 improvised explosives from the bandits.

 “Continuing ang focused military operation ng Joint Task Force Central at base na rin sa pronouncement ni General Sobejana na hindi nila titigilan hangga’t mayroong teroristang grupo na nandoon sa SPMS box sa Maguindanao,” said AFP West Mindanao Command Spokesperson Lt. Col, Gerry Besana. “SPMS box” refers to the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin or Datu Piang, Mamasapano and Salibo in Maguindanao.

The military continues its airstrikes in the area utilizing all available air assets and 105 Howitzer tanks to its ground efforts.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) makes use of the existing martial law in Mindanao to neutralize the terror group and prevent further hostilities, particularly in Central Mindanao.

On the other hand, the BIFF leadership seems to be underestimating the ongoing military operations. BIFF Spokesperson Abu Misri Mama said reports that many of their members have been killed are just part of the military’s propaganda.

“Marami naman tayong mga tauhan. Nagchi-change sila. Mga bala ay marami tayo. Iyong mga pronouncement nila sa mga radio, propaganda lang nila kasi para matakpan iyong kanilang mga kahihiyan,” said Abu Misri Mama.

Meanwhile, the AFP WestMinCom assures to protect and prevent civilian casualties in the encounter. There are around 10,000 evacuees already sent to temporary shelters while the fight is ongoing. – Dante Amento / Marje Pelayo

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BIFF to support Bangsamoro Organic Law if results are favorable – BIFF spokesperson

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2018

 

A member of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines — Abu Misri Mama, the spokesperson for the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), announced that the group will support the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) if the results turn out to be favorable.

Lately, the BIFF has been noticeably silent and less active in Mindanao.

The group said they are watching closely how the proposed Bangsamoro Organic Law will turn out once it is ratified through a plebiscite next year.

The BIFF stressed that they are willing to open the doors to peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front under the BOL.

President Rodrigo Duterte said recently that if the ‘yes’ vote wins in the plebiscite, he plans to speak with MILF founding chairman Nur Misuari.

Abu Misra Mama assured the BIFF’s support for the BOL as a means to end the conflict in Mindanao.

“Ang aming stand mag-observe muna kami dahil tingnan muna natin kung ang Bangsamoro Organic Act o Law ay yung maka-solve sa problema sa Mindanao ay sama tayo,” he said.

The group also assured that while the peace process is ongoing, they will not launch any attacks.

However, if their expectations are not met, they will continue the fight and will not align themselves with the BOL.

“Wala po kaming gagawing pag-aatake at wala pong anu-ano na makasisira sa anong bagay na pakinabangan natin pero kung aatakehin kami ‘yon lalaban po kami,” said the BIFF spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomed the group’s statement of support.

Joint Task Force Central Commander Major General Cirilito Sobejana said that this development is favorable to the armed forces because it means one less opposition in the government’s pursuit of peace.

“It is a positive development dahil bawas na sa gobyerno kapag sila’y sumusuporta na sa Bangsamoro Organic Law,” Sobejana said. — Dante Amento

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PNP nabs suspect in GenSan Blast

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, September 21st, 2018

GenSan bombing suspect (in red) being taken into custody

 

The primary suspect in the September 16 blast in General Santos City that injured eight people is now under police custody.

Authorities identified the suspect as Jefry Alonzo, 39, and a resident of Purok Tres, Barangay Lapu in Polomolok, South Cotabato.

Alonzo, who was arrested during a buy-bust operation, was an alleged member of Nilong Group which is a breakaway group of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

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BIFF denies hand in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat blast

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Image grabbed from Reuters video

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has denied reports of masterminding the explosion in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat on Tuesday (August 28).

The group’s spokesperson Abu Misri Mama said in a phone interview with UNTV on Thursday (August 30), it was just an allegation from the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) to solicit sympathy from the residents.

“Ang pagsabog doon sa Isulan, Sultan Kudarat, wala kaming kinalaman doon…Hindi pa kuntento ang gobyerno na peaceful na ang Mindano dahil andito pa kami kaya iyon.  Nagpasabog sila, kahit na may mga sundalo na nasugatan para mapaniwalaan ng mga tao na kami ang nagpasabog pero wala kaming kinalaman doon. Pangalawa, gusto nila na ma-extend ang martial law dahil di naman mae-extend iyon kung walang dahilan,” Mama said.

The BIFF also denied the involvement of Abu Turaife in the explosion contrary to earlier reports from the AFP.

But the authorities maintained that the group was the one behind the blast with the intention of disrupting the peace process in Mindanao after the passing of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

Meanwhile, the local government of Sultan Kudarat expressed favor in extending the martial law declaration in Mindanao following the explosion.

“Pabor po ako sa extention ng martial law. Sa bayan ko yung peace and order lalong gumanda tapos at is kami na may martial law maraming pagbabago,” said Mayor Maritess Pallasigue.

Based on the latest report from the AFP, the total number of fatalities from the explosion has reached three after the comatose victim who was struck by shrapnel in the head, died in the hospital.

The militant group, meanwhile, said they will carry on with their fight, with or without martial law.

“Kung kami ang tatanungin, sa martial law wala kaming pakialam sapagkat kahit na martial law, martial law, martial law pa nandito pa rin kami lalaban pa rin kami,” said Mama.

Pallasigue assured that all affected residents were provided with the necessary assistance from the LGU.

Heightened security measures are also in place following the incident. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Dante Amento)

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