Philippines

Civilians turn over BIFF bombs to Army

Lt. Colonel Gerry Besana, chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) Civil Military Operations (CMO) Battalion, said civilians surrendered some five kilos of unexploded ordnance they found in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao, on Friday.

The Army and its ally, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), have been fighting for over two months now against the faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) under Commander Esmael Abdulmalik in the area.

The clashes that started in late July left at least 50 fatalities from both the MILF and BIFF. Fighting erupted when the BIFF tried to hoist ISIS black flags in MILF-identified communities in Barangays Andavit and Tee in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.

The MILF sent Task Force Ittihad (Unity) to the two villages to convince the outlawed group not to hoist ISIS flags.

Instead, the BIFF set off bombs that left 10 MILF injured and triggered sporadic gun battles.

This developed as Besana expressed elation at the gesture of civilians in turning over components of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to authorities, citing it has also saved the lives of civilians from unnecessary explosions that might occur in their communities.

Approximately five kilograms of assorted improvised explosive devices believed to be made by followers of Abu Toraypi were surrendered by civilians to the personnel of the CMO Battalion in Sitio Gadong, Barangay Pagatin 2, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao,” Besana said.

He said it was not clear where the IEDs were discovered, mentioning that what is important is that the IEDs are now in the safe hands of military bomb experts.

He said civilian cooperation was the result of the massive information campaign being conducted in support to the Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade and 6th ID’s campaign against the terror group in the area.

“IEDs pose great hazards and threats to the civilians in the area. It is being used by the BIFF to inflict casualties to pursuing AFP soldiers and MILF fighters and to protect their strongholds which were recently cleared after fierce clashes for more than two months now,” Besana said. (PNA)

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