The outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) shot dead an ethnic Teduray chief in Datu Saudi, Maguindanao, and abducted two tribal members in an attack in Datu Ampatuan town on Thursday.
Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao provincial police director, said Diego Met Dagadas, 24, died instantly from multiple gunshot wounds while his elderly companion, Bada Dagadas, was wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED) that had been detonated by the bandits before fleeing.
The BIFF gunmen also took as human shield two members of the Teduray group as they escaped after the attack.
Tello said Dagadas was killed three days after the BIFF lost 13 members in gunfights with soldiers in adjoining Datu Unsay and Datu Saudi towns.
According to relatives of Dagadas, the BIFF terrorists surrounded the house of the victim at Mount Firis proper in Datu Saudi, ordered him to come out and shot him with assault rifles at close range as he emerged.
Police investigators said the bandits who killed Dagadas lobbed an IED at his lifeless body before they escaped.
The IED was made up of powder placed in a sealed container attached to a long detonating cord.
Major Gen. Arnel dela Vega, commanding general of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the reported murder of Dagadas was an apparent BIFF retaliation for their losses in gunfights with government troops in Datu Unsay.
Dela Vega added that they have tightened security in populated areas vulnerable to retaliatory attacks by the BIFF bandits.
Abu Misry Mama, spokesman for one of three BIFF factions, earlier confirmed losing companions in the hostilities in Datu Unsay on December 25.
Mama, however, declined to reveal the number of fatalities on their side while local officials claimed the BIFF lost 13 members, eight of them identified only as Suhair, Mindo, Oting, Mustapha, Minoh, Saban, Mohaimen and Guinaid.
The Christmas Day hostilities in the villages of Maitemaig and Iganagampong in Datu Unsay erupted when the BIFF bandits attacked an Army detachment and burned houses of local ethnic Teduray settlers as they fled.
Key members of the municipal peace and order councils in Shariff Aguak, Datu Saudi and Datu Unsay towns on Tuesday said five of the 13 BIFF fatalities were killed when rockets fired by responding Augusta AW109 attack helicopters hit them.
Meanwhile, Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said he has requested the provincial police to help guard roads from possible BIFF bombings in secluded stretches of the province.
The BIFF is known for targeting non-military targets to avenge losses in clashes with the Philippine military.
withb AL JACINTO