COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: The Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) based in Camp Siongco in this province announced the arrest of a high-ranking leader of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) during a raid that also killed the rebel’s son on Tuesday night.
BIFF Vice Chairman for Internal Affairs and 4th Division Commander Hassan Indal, alias Abu Hassan and Tambako, is now undergoing interrogation after Tuesday’s arrest, 6ID spokesperson Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay said. Indal’s son – Ali – died in a gunfight with the law enforcers.
Policemen, backed by the Army’s Special Forces, swooped down on Indal’s hideout in Barangay Kalangan Mother in Cotabato where intelligence agents tracked him down.
“Indal [has been] involved in different criminalities and atrocities in central Mindanao since 2010,” Petinglay told The Manila Times.
Citing intelligence reports, Petinglay said Indal and his son had been hiding in a safe house in the outskirts of Cotabato City since intense military operations were launched Friday against the rebel group in the town of Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.
BIFF spokesman Abu Misri Mama said the ranking rebel leader, who has been suffering from diabetes, was in the city to seek medical attention.
“That is why he was in Cotabato City, not hiding…but for medication,” Mama added.
Colonel Ranie Sevilla, commander of the 5th Army Special Forces, said Indal’s arrest was made on the basis of a warrant of arrest issued by the local court for various heinous crimes.
“His son resisted arrest and traded shots with the lawmen,” Sevilla said.
Chief Inspector William Santos, officer in charge (OIC) of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (CIDG-ARMM), said it took the government forces eight minutes to execute Indal’s arrest.
He said that while the lawmen were serving the arrest warrant, Ali grabbed an M-16 armalite rifle and tried to shoot the arresting officers but law enforcers quickly responded and shot him dead.
The raiding team seized an M-16 armalite rifle, cal. 45 pistol and fragmentation grenade.
Santos also explained that the CIDG had to bring Ali’s remains, though he belonged to an Islamic faith, to a local funeral parlor here for fingerprinting and data processing.
Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, 6th ID commanding general, said informants provided them vital information that led to Indal’s arrest.
“This is an accomplishment not only of the security forces but of the entire community because Indal was one of the BIFF leaders who continually sowed terror among civilians by planting improvised bombs in public places,” he said.
The continuing military operations since last week ensued after the MILF separatists harassed personnel of an ongoing flood control project in Datu Salibo, where they burned heavy equipment and attacked government forces, defusing a bomb planted under a bridge in the area.
The skirmishes resulted in the death of nine jihadists, including its sub-leader, whom the military identified only as Abu Supian, in Tuesday’s military pursuit operation.