IS-linked Moro rebel leader, 11 others killed in military strikes in Maguindanao

IS-linked Moro rebel leader, 11 others killed in military strikes in Maguindanao

The Armed Forces of the Philippines scored a major victory against local Islamic State-linked terrorists with the killing on Monday of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) leader Mohiden Animbang, more known as Kagi Karialan.

Animbang, estimated to be around 60, led a BIFF faction that is rabidly loyal to the IS leadership. His BIFF faction has been implicated in a number of atrocities, including a string of bus bombings in Central Mindanao, the AFP said.

According to Maj. Gen. Alex Rillera, commander of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division, Karialan’s group engaged government troops in a running gunbattle in Barangay Kitango of Datu Saudi Ampatuan town in Maguindanao del Sur province on Monday morning.

The Army assault culminated in a series of air strikes, and skirmishes were over by mid-afternoon.

“We cornered them in an open field, in a swampy area. Finally, we got them, we have been running after them,” Rillera told reporters on Tuesday.

There was no evacuation among civilians in the area as the site of clashes was in the swamps, far from the population centers, said Brig. Gen. Jose Vladimir Cagara, commander of the Army’s 1st Combat Brigade. Aside from the elusive Karialan, the fatalities included his brother Saga Animbang, the group’s operations chief.


The bodies of the 12 slain terrorists were taken by their relatives on Monday and immediately buried according to Islamic rites, said Rillera.

BIFF spokesperson Abu Supyan confirmed they lost their leader. “We fought the soldiers from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. We were cornered, the military used air assets, [and] we have nowhere to go,” Supyan told the Inquirer, vowing revenge. “The battle is not yet over; there is a continuation.”

Cagara said they were tailing three BIFF members who entered a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) area but did not pursue them in deference to a ceasefire with MILF, the erstwhile rebel group whose leaders now head the Bangsamoro region.

On Monday, the BIFF group was monitored to have moved out of the area, Cagara added.

Source » inquirer