SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: Two Army outposts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in North Cotabato towns were attacked separately on Saturday night and before dawn Sunday by members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), police said.
Supt. Romeo Galgo, Jr., spokesman for the Regional Police Office 12 based in General Santos City, said four BIFF rebels were wounded in ensuing exchanges of gunfire.
The members of the BIFF attacked a militia detachment in Barangay Nalapaan in Pikit, North Cotabato at 4 a.m. Sunday, which triggered a firefight.
Local police said militiamen in the detachment returned fire, preventing the BIFF gunmen from coming nearer to the outpost.
Residents of Pikit, among them traditional leaders, said two of the wounded BIFF rebels were mere adolescents and identified only by their first names as Tatoh and Ahmad.
The incident, which created panic among Muslim and Christian residents in Barangay Nalapaan, was preceded by an attempt by BIFF rebels to take over an Army detachment in Barangay Pagangan in Aleosan, North Cotabato, on Saturday night.
Local officials said BIFF fighters approached the detachment that was manned by soldiers belonging to the Philippine Army and local members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit from two directions and opened fire with assault rifles and shoulder-fired 40 millimeter grenade launchers.
Although outnumbered, the government troops in the detachment fought back and fired at the BIFF attackers, forcing the latter to retreat.
The Aleosan municipal police said residents in the barangay (village) have confirmed to them that the gunmen belong to the outlawed BIFF.
The BIFF, which split from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2010, has declared their loyalty to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and copied the style of dreaded international terrorist group by hoisting the black ISIS flag as its revolutionary banner.