CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao: The Army’s 6th Infantry Division on Tuesday condemned the ambush and killing of a military ambulance driver by suspected Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao on Sunday.
Maj General Edmundo R. Pangilinan, 6th ID chief and commander of Task Force Central, said the slain Army ambulance driver was transporting wounded infantrymen from the Army-BIFF encounter in Shariff Saydona to the Maguidanao provincial hospital when ambushed in Barangay Elian, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
“It only shows that these bandits do not observe and respect the International Humanitarian Law (IHL),” he said in a statement released by the Division Public Affairs Office on Tuesday.
A band of BIFF fired at the ambulance as it hurriedly transporting wounded soldiers. The medical team was able to fire back at the bandits while bringing the wounded soldiers to a safer area.
The driver-fatality, identified as Staff Sgt. Robert E. Espia of Forward Support Medical Platoon of Task Force Central, was hit while driving an ambulance. On board the ambulance were two wounded elements of the 34th Infantry Battalion.
The soldiers were also killed in a separate clash in Barangay Pamalian, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao. Thirteen BIFF were reported killed, including three commanders.
One of them was allegedly the hit squad leader of the BIFF who pinned down at least seven soldiers in separate occasions in Maguindanao.
The slain soldiers were identified as Cpl Faizal A. Julmain and PFC Marlon E. Marino of 34th Infantry Battalion and PFC Vincent Q. Gulla of 1st Mechanized Battalion.
The series of encounters last Sunday was evident that some members of the BIFF were still in the operation area.
On Monday, AFP Chief of Staff General Gregorio Pio P. Catapang announced the conclusion of the month-long all-out offensive against the rebel group BIFF.
However, the government forces will still continue pursuing the scattered members of the BIFF to prevent the group from regrouping and reorganizing in conducting terror activities in Mindanao.
A send-off ceremony was also held in 6ID for the four soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the recent clash.