CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao: The military has sent more troops Tuesday to the town of Shariff Saydona, Maguindanao following the harassment incident by outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) Monday.
Captain Joann Petinglay, 6th Infantry Division information officer, said the BIFF has been harassing far flung communities in Datu Shariff Saydona who refused to provide revolutionary tax to the outlawed group.
Three BIFF fighters were killed in a clash with elements of the 45th Infantry Battalion in the village of Nabundas, Shariff Saydona at past 7 a.m. Monday.
Two soldiers were slightly wounded when BIFF under Commander Sanad fired mortars at approaching government forces. The remains of three unarmed BIFF were turned over by the military to the local village officials.
Captain Jay Maniwang, civil-military relations chief of the 601st Brigade which has jurisdiction over the second district of Maguindanao, said the soldiers were set to the village of Nabundas to check on alleged forced taxation by armed men.
But as they approached the village, they were ambushed by about 30 BIFF fighters who were positioned on both sides of the dirt road.
Two soldiers were immediately hit by shrapnel when a mortar round landed near them.
Maniwang said they are now safe in a government hospital and will soon be discharged.
Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, 6th Infantry Division chief, said there is no let-up in the offensive against the lawless elements blamed for the series of atrocities against civilians and against the military.
Four government forces were separately executed by BIFF hit men, including a Camp Aguinaldo-based Army major. They also harassed civilian communities in farming villages during harvest season and even execute those who refused to shell out portions of the harvest to the movement.
Soldiers from the 45th IB, backed by armoured personnel carriers, are now station in Barangay Nabundas to protect the civilians and prevent the BIFF from advancing to populated communities.
Capt. Petinglay said the BIFF also sent reinforcement and positioned along the Maguindanao marshland in an apparent attempt to overrun Army positions as well as a satellite camp of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (BIFF).
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu has sent the provincial relief team to extend emergency aid to some 50 families displaced by the conflict. The affected families are now in Barangay Nabundas village multi-purpose hall. PNA