SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: Soldiers belonging to the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6th ID) based in Camp Siongco, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, acting on tips from civilians, seized war materiel belonging to the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao on Monday, a high official said.
Capt. Arvin John Encinas, 6th ID spokesman, said seized in clearing operations in Barangay Poblacion in the town of Datu Piang and Barangay Katibpuan, Talayan municipality, both in Maguindanao, were assorted firearms and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Recovered in the operations were one M-653 rifle, an M-203 grenade launcher, magazines and ammunition and components for bomb manufacturing.
Encinas said firearms of BIFF sub-leader Abunawas Damiog alias Bayawak were kept by an unidentified person at Olandang Bridge, Datu Piang.
Civilians in another village also reported to the Army the presence of 10 motorized boats that the BIFF used in cruising tributaries in the marshland.
Maj. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, 6th ID commander, lauded the civilians for helping the military neutralize the lawless elements.
The Army’s 603rd Brigade recovered three more IEDs and personal belongings after reliable information disclosed BIFF sightings on board a motorized boat in Talayan that was relayed to the government troops.
“The successful operation was a result of the focused and intensified military operations against the local terror groups in Central Mindanao,” dela Vega said.
Meanwhile, five New People’s Army (NPA) rebels belonging to the Platoon Myphone of Guerilla Front 73 surrendered to elements of the 57th Infantry Battalion and Philippine Marines in Barangay Nililidan, Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat Province on Monday morning.
The communist NPA rebels turned over one M-16 Armalite rifle, one M-14 rifle and one Ultimax caliber 5.62 rifle.
“This is one of the positive outcomes of an effective collaboration between the military and the civil authorities,” dela Vega said.