SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: Government forces raided a marshland village in Maguindanao on Friday dawn and arrested five members of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and confiscated three firearms from the terrorists.
Lt. Colonel Harold Cabunoc, 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB) commander, and members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force raided the village of Tual in Paglat town in Maguindanao aimed at apprehending Sindatok Dilna, a sub-leader of the BIFF under Commander Gani Saligan.
Backed by armored personnel carriers from the 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion and supported by artillery fire from 7th Field Artillery Battalion, troops raided the village, catching the suspects by surprise and neutralizing them.
“They did not resist arrest upon seeing that they were overwhelmed by our forces,” Cabunoc said.
He added that village officials witnessed the raid.
Also recovered were one cal. 5.56mm AR 18 Armalite rifle and two cal. 45 pistols.
The suspects were brought to the 33rd IB headquarters for questioning.
Cabunoc said the marshland areas of Maguindanao have become hiding places for foreign and local terrorists and political armed groups.
“We have been alerted by the intrusion of alleged members of Islamic State-inspired jihadists who have mixed with the local population especially with the political armed groups in the area,” he added.
Cabunoc said the Philipine Army is working closely with local authorities in convincing people to hand over loose firearms in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to collect illegal weapons that proliferate in Mindanao in southern Philippines.