Army foils BIFF attempt to retake Maguindanao stronghold

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CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao: Government forces on Thursday foiled another attempt by Moro bandits to take over an Army detachment in Datu Piang, Maguindanao, the Army here said.

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Members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) tried to takeover an Army detachment in Barangay Damabalas in Datu Piang town by firing assault and grenade rifles, according to Army Colonel Dickson Hermoso.

Hermoso, speaking for the 6th Infnatry Division, said the bandits quietly crawled toward the position of the 62nd Division Reconnaissance Company from two directions, provoking a 30-minute fire fight.

But the soldiers, Hermoso said, had been prepared all throughout and expecting harassment from the BIFF anytime.Soldiers quickly responded after the bandits fired rockets at about 10 p.m. from the defense perimeters of the detachment.

Hermoso, quoting reports from village officials and witnesses, said the civilians saw three wounded bandits carried by retreating guerrillas as the Army fired mortars and assault rifles.

“Nobody was hurt on our side but the loud explosions triggered panic among villagers who are still bracing for floods,” Hermoso, also the 6th Infantry Division judge advocate general, said.

Hermoso said the latest BIFF attack in Barangay Damabalas was the seventh in the past six weeks.

The villages of Damabalas and Ganta in Datu Shariff Saydona town, also in Maguindanao, used to be the stronghold of the BIFF.

It fell into government hands in March following an air and ground assaults by the 6th Infantry Division.

“Obviously, they wanted to retake the camp. They tried it many times in the past and they failed,” he said.

Abu Misry Mama, speaking for the BIFF, confirmed the BIFF initiated harassment but refused to issue further comments. PNA

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