SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: Two residents were killed while seven others were wounded, including four minors, in separate attacks by the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Moro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) bandits here on Sunday night.
Killed were Unti Kamama, 60, and his grandson, Mohammad Kamama, 13, who both died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Responding police said the wounded include four pre-schoolers Moro children – Ana, Butoh and Bai – all surnamed Tukay, their neighbor, Ela Tayog and Private First Class Clinton Rigor of the Philippine Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion.
About 30 gunmen from the outlawed BIFF first attacked an Army detachment in Barangay Timbangan in Shariff Aguak at about 8:40 p.m. on Sunday.
Another group of bandits also fired at nearby houses of Moro families, killing the Kamamas and wounding the four children and two adults, Aila Amor, 25, and Tukay Kamama, 26.
Major Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commanding general of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said the latest BIFF rampage was meant to avenge the deaths of more than 30 members killed in recent offensives by the joint forces of Army units of 6th ID and Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
MILF forces have killed 27 militants in one of three BIFF factions, the one under Esmael Abdulmalik, in encounters from July to September.
The MILF launched the offensive against Abdulmalik and his men after they attempted to hoist the Islamic State flag in strategic areas in Maguindanao’s Salibo and Shariff Saidona municipalities.
More than 10 BIFF gunmen under Imam Bongos were reportedly killed in an operation last month by the Army’s 57th, 19th and 40th Infantry Battalions at the border of the adjoining Datu Unsay and Shariff Aguak towns in Maguindanao.
Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director, said community leaders in Shariff Aguak have confirmed that followers of Imam Bongos were behind the harassment of the Army detachment in Barangay Timbangan on Sunday night.
Abu Misry Mama, spokesman of BIFF’s Bongos faction, said the attack was part of their continuing offensive against the police and the military.
Shariff Aguak Mayor Marop Ampatuan said they have allocated funds for the medical needs of the innocent civilians wounded in the attack.
“I’m appealing to these armed groups not to roam in populated areas to spare the innocent villagers,” Ampatuan said.
Ampatuan said their municipal peace and order council will initiate measures meant to prevent another incident resulting in collateral damage of the innocent civilians.