Islamist group’s field commander nabbed in southern Philippines

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ZAIWADIN Kawilan, a field commander of the Islamist group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), was arrested Thursday by the police and military operatives in a manhunt conducted in the southern Philippine city of Cotabato, a senior police official said Saturday.

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Director Victor Deona, chief of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said operatives from the CIDG, Cotabato City Police Office, Philippine Army and Regional Intelligence Unit 15 of the PNP, or Philippine National Police, nabbed Kawilan at around 11:30 a.m.

He added that Kawilan, who is also wanted for a double-murder case, has been involved in a series of attacks against military installations and the killings of military personnel in Maguindanao province’s SPMS box area comprising Salvo, Pagatin, Mamsapano and Shariff Aguak.

The BIFF field commander has also been involved in gun-for-hire activities in the area, Deona said.

Used to be part of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the BIFF bolted from the group around the later part of 2012 over disagreements in peace process with the Aquino administration. ANTHONY VARGAS

 AV/BF

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