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20 BIFF men killed in Maguindanao clashes

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CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – The number of casualties on the side of the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has reached 20, as clashes between the terror group and military entered its fourth day Wednesday in Maguindanao.

Major Arvin John Encinas, Army’s 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, said running gun battles are ongoing within the so-called Salibo-Pagatin Mamasapano-Shariff Aguak (SPMS) area where the BIFF mainly operates in the province.

“We will not ease up our operation against the BIFF. We have the support of the communities,” Encinas told reporters here in an interview.

Encinas said the firefights has so far led to a lone casualty on the government side, identified as Sgt. Romy Obogan of the Army’s 61st Reconnaissance Company, and the wounding of eight other soldiers.

“The BIFF has a much larger number of casualties at 20, whose names were relayed to us by our informants on the ground,” Encinas said.

He identified 15 of the 20 BIFF casualties as Abdulkarim Kadil, Yusop Latiman, Pagal Yusop, Pacardo Musa, Aladdin Bagundong, Mohammedin Acop, Ansari Bokaler, Sugapon Magtala, Mohaquer Mamak, Khagi Mamak, Duan Ali, Mubarak Antuli, Yusop Kader, and a certain Dagado and Abdullah.

The military said same informants reported that dismembered body parts of three BIFF casualties, brought about by incessant air strikes and artillery fire, littered the site of the battle in Barangay Inaladan, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao.

“Two other bodies of militants were found by advancing government troopers, together with three unexploded anti-personnel mines in adjacent Barangay Pagatin of Datu Salibo town,” Encinas added.

Encinas said government forces are slowly inching their way nearer to
pinpointed lairs of the BIFF, leaving the extremists no space to withdraw to nearby towns and the vast Liguasan Marsh area.

“We are sealing off all possible points of withdrawal by the BIFF to avoid a spillover of the conflict,” he said. PNA

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