16 killed in fresh clashes in Maguindanao

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Courtesy of Google Map


DATU UNSAY, Maguindanao -- Fresh clashes on Sunday in Maguindanao left 16 people, including four soldiers and a commander of the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), dead, the Philippine Army said Monday.

The first firefight broke out between the 6th Scout Ranger Company led by Captain Blas Alsiyao and the BIFF under sub-leader Commander Bungos in Barangay Malangog, Datu Unsay town around 9:30 a.m., 6th Infantry Division spokesperson Captain Jo-ann Petinglay said in a statement.

“The Scout Rangers overran the enemy positions after about an hour of intense firefight,” Petinglay said.

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Another firefight erupted around 9:50 a.m. between the BIFF led by a certain Commander Bisaya and members of the 34th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Pamalian, Shariff Saydona town.

“The Joint Task Force Central sent reinforcements who successfully out maneuvered the bandits, killing Commander Bisaya and two more unidentified companions who were said to be close relatives of another BIFF Commander Karialan. Twelve other bandits were also wounded in the hour-long firefight,” Petinglay said.

Two members of Joint Task Force Central were wounded in the clashes and evacuated by a military medical team, she said.

But as the ambulance carrying the wounded soldiers was approaching Barangay Elian, Datu Saudi Ampatuan town around 1 p.m., it was ambushed by a small BIFF unit, hitting the driver.

Petinglay said the wounded soldiers and the medical team were rescued around 4 p.m.

Colonel Melquiades Feliciano, 601st brigade commander, identified Bisaya’s alleged fellow commanders as Nords Indong, alias Bhuto, and his brother Salaudin Indong.

Feliciano said the BIFF rebels returned to their camps in the interior villages of Datu Unsay and Shariff Saydona towns during the unilateral suspension of military operations declared by the Army to pave the way for the graduation ceremonies of elementary and high school students in Maguindanao.

He said the Indong brothers were siblings of BIFF leader Mohaimen Indong, alias Commander Kagi Karialan, now acting as the leader of the group after its founding chair Ameril Umra Kato fell seriously ill and the arrest of Mohammad Ali Tambako.

Feliciano said Bisaya was the leader of the BIFF hit squad that liquidated at least seven soldiers in the “SPMS box” in Maguindanao.

“SPMS box” refers to the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi), Mamasapano and Shariff Saydona, all in Maguindanao where the BIFF operates.

“Because of the SOMO, the BIFF returned to their encampments inside the SPMS box area so we conducted security patrol in the area,” Feliciano said, adding the soldiers captured the BIFF camp in Malangog. (Mindanews)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 31, 2015.

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