• Philippine troops capture BIFF camp

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government troops captured a rebel encampment following a gun-battle in the restive Maguindanao province in the Muslim autonomous region, officials said on Tuesday. Officials said the security forces assaulted the encampment of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Midpandakan village, General SK Pendatun town and captured the base used by rebels under Sukarno Sapal. The base is also used as a springboard to attack military posts in the province. “We still don’t know if there were casualties on the BIFF side, but security forces are hot on the trail for the terror group. There were no reports of military casualties,” said Capt. Joann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the 6th Infantry Division. She said the campaign against BIFF started over the weekend and is continuing in Maguindanao, a known stronghold of the rebel group which broke away with the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front that a signed a peace accord with Manila last year. She said Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, ordered an intensified operation against the BIFF. Col. Melquiadez Feliciano, commander of the 601st Infantry Brigade, said the captured camp is also used as a BIFF training base. There was no immediate statement from the separatist rebel group, but it previously warned of more attacks in the troubled region.

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