Three soldiers hurt as AFP repels alleged BIFF plan to occupy municipal hall in Maguindanao
Three soldiers were wounded as the military and police repelled a plan by alleged members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) to take a municipal hall in Maguindanao on Tuesday.
“Supported by armored vehicles and infantry mortars, the house-to-house close quarter battle lasted about 9 hours in an area that is located in the middle of a rice field,” said Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, commander of the Army's 33rd infantry Battalion, on Wednesday.
Cabunoc said wounded were Corporal Millard Bacatan and Private Allan Cabildo of the 33rd IB, and Musa Kalim, a militiaman.
Cabunoc said troops of 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion, and the 4th Special Action Battalion attacked the positions of the alleged BIFF terrorists, led by Sulaiman Tudon, at around 5 am.
He said the attack thwarted the BIFF’s attempt to occupy the urban center in the province as the enemy was positioned in a cluster of concrete houses at Sitio Mopac of Barangay Poblacion, about 500 meters from the municipal hall.
“Combined Army and police forces had blocked the attempt of IS-inspired terrorist group in occupying the seat of the municipal government,” he said.
“We confronted enemy snipers and improvised bombs as we seized the areas that are previously occupied by the terrorists. We also wanted to contain the fighting outside of the highly populated area some 500 meters away,” Cabunoc added.
Cabunoc said at 3 pm of the same day, Philippine Air Force choppers blasted the remaining BIFF positions before clearing operations by ground forces.
“The troops recovered and disrupted three improvised bombs that are placed along the pathways towards the enemy occupied positions,” he said.
He said Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division also sent augmentation forces to support the 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade, led by Brigadier General Bismarck Soliba.
Three military personnel were slightly wounded in the skirmishes due to shrapnel and bullet wounds he said, adding no civilians were reported hurt.
Cabunoc said “government forces have maintained its security patrols in the peripheries of the engagement area to facilitate the return of the internally displaced persons in collaboration with the local government authorities.”
“The Army has facilitated the delivery of humanitarian assistance for the 500 people who have sought refuge in the municipal gym,” he added. Robina Asido/ DMS