THE Army’s 6th Infantry Division on Monday sent more forces in two villages in North Cotabato province after Moro rebels stormed the said villages and killed a farmer while eluding pursuing government forces.
Colonel Dickson Hermoso, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said elements of the 40th Infantry Battalion which has jurisdiction over Midsayap, North Cotabato, were sent to the villages of Baliki and Polomoguin where Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) harassed on Monday dawn.
Reports here said that at about 1 a.m., BIFF rebels attacked the village of Baliki, a community in Midsayap, North Cotabato situated near Datu Piang where the BIFF operates.
Armed Civilian Volunteer organizations (CVOs) engaged the attackers in an hour-long firefight until the renegade Moro rebel group fled towards Datu Piang when elements of the 40th Infantry Battalion reinforced the militiamen.
As the 40th IB elements started to close in Barangay Baliki, the BIFF forces numbering about 50 persons, fled toward Datu Piang in Maguindanao. But as they passed by Sitio Mirasol, Barangay Polomoguin, also in Midsayap, the bandits took away work animals and personal belongings of civilians.
A farmer identified only as Reynald was shot dead after he refused to release his work animal.
Before escaping toward the Rio Grande de Mindanao, the BIFF took some civilians and used them as human shields when the Army conducted pursuit operations.
The civilians were released unharmed about an hour later.
The BIFF harassment in Midsayap came after the bandits attempted but failed to blow up a bridge in Barangay Magaslong, Maguindanao Sunday morning.
A breakaway of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the BIFF gained notoriety when they simultaneously attacked Army and militia bases in Maguindanao in an apparent futile attempt to stop the signing of the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro last year.
The BIFF vowed to push for a separate state for Mindanao. PNA