3 BIFF members die in Maguindanao clash
PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) agents on Thursday clashed with a group of heavily-armed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) gunmen in General Salipada K. Pendatun, Maguindanao killing three of the suspects, PNP Chief General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. said.
The gunbattle erupted while officers from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), backed up by commandos from the Special Action Force (SAF) and the local police, were about to serve several warrants of arrest and a search warrant for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition against suspected BIFF members in Sitio Mamedted in Barangay Midcunding, General. SK Pendatun municipality 2:00 a.m. Thursday.
PNP-SAF Director Brigadier Gen. Edgar Alan O. Okubo said a 30-minute shootout erupted in the area when the armed men opened fire at the lawmen prompting them to retaliate.
The official said that three of the BIFF gunmen were killed in the firefight.
The bodies of the three were found inside one of the raided houses, and all were taken to the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital, where an attending physician declared them dead upon arrival.
Recovered from the slain suspects’ possession were one M-16 automatic rifle, one M1 Carbine, one caliber .45 semi-automatic pistol, and three rounds cal. 40mm ammunition and a hand grenade.
Okubo said that 100 commandos from the SAF’s 4th Special Action Battalion were involved in the counter-terror operation, which targeted members of the BIFF-Karialan Group.
PNP-CIDG Director Brig. Gen. Ronald O. Lee said the raid also resulted in the capture of “Jehar Siya”, a known supporter of the BIFF Karialan Faction who has been tagged as the most wanted car theft personality in Central Mindanao.
The official said that Siya is the subject of a warrant of arrest for violation of the anti-carnapping law issued by Judge Gerardo Braganza of the Koronadal City Regional Trial Court Branch 42.