KIDAPAWAN CITY: The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) suffered 26 casualties after staging a series of harassment attacks targetting three military detachments in different towns of Maguindanao on New Year’s Eve, military officials said on Friday.
The Army’s 6th Infantry Division spokesperson Captain Jo Ann Petinglay said the attacks were in the towns of Datu Piang, Shariff Saidona Mustapha and Shariff Aguak.
Petinglay said the BIFF first attacked a detachment in Datu Piang, Maguindanao with an M203 grenade launcher. The grenade landed about 50 meters away from the Kaungan Detachment of a Mechanized Infantry Company.
At 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, about 30 BIFF militants assaulted Timbangan Detachment in Brgy Timbangan, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.
One hour later, the Linantangan Detachment in Brgy Linantangan, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao was also attacked by armed men.
A 15-minute firefight ensued causing six fatalities on the BIFF with 20 others injured but no casualties from the military side were r
Petinglay said the number of casualties on the BIFF side was based on reports from the communities.
The recent BIFF attacks succeeded the Christmas Eve attacks in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and North Cotabato, which resulted to the death of around dozen of civilians and displaced thousands of residents.
The military and police had heightened their alert since the attacks and intensified operations against the group.
Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of 6th Infantry Division, said the BIFF’s attempt to sow fear among the residents eventually boomeranged.
“Let the incident be a lesson to the BIFF that there can only be one superior force and that is the military,” he said.