CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao: Government forces are hunting down a band of outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who attacked an Army base in the borders of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat provinces at 1 a.m. Saturday.
The attack left one soldier killed, three others wounded, according to Capt. Joanne Petinglay, speaking for the 6th Infantry “Kampilan” Division based in Camp Siongco, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.
Petinglay said members of the BIFF surrounded the detachments of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Kulasi in Gen. S.K. Pendatun town in Maguindanao and in Barangay Katiku in Sultan Kudarat’s President Quirino then opened fire with assault rifles.
The bandits, which Petinglay described as “potent spoilers of peace,” also fired rifle grenades at surprised soldiers who immediately traded shots with the attackers for about 30 minutes.
Although outnumbered, the soldiers returned fire, preventing the bandits from crossing through the perimeter fences until they suffered casualties and retreated.
The identities of the slain soldier and the wounded were not made public until their next of kin are duly informed.
Village officials told the Army that blood stain were visible in the site where the BIFF launched attacks, an indication they too suffered injured fighters.
Petinglay could not say whether the attackers also suffered death as no body was recovered from the crime site.
Elements of the 33rd IB backed by armoured personnel carrier are still pursuing the bandits who fled toward the Liguasan marshland.
Members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) helped the Army in tracking down the bandits.
The BIFF, composed of about 1,000 armed men, broke away from the mainstream revolutionary group – the MILF and vowed to continue fighting for independence.
Civilians who fled their homes have started to return to their villages after the Army cleared the adjoining villages from explosives that might have been left by fleeing bandits. PNA