Four ISIS-linked terrorists killed in Mindanao clash with the government forces
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Four members of a “rogue” Moro rebel group that pledged allegiance to the Daesh in the Middle East were slain in a clash with government forces while allegedly extorting food and money from villagers in Maguindanao province in restive Mindanao, the military confirmed on Thursday.
The military also said two other members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were also wounded in the hour-long encounter with elements of the Army’s 40th Infantry Batallion in a “barangay” (village) in the town of Shariff Saidona Mustapha in Maguindanao on Tuesday afternoon.
The military said they immediately sent soldiers to check on complaints from residents that heavily armed men identifying themselves as BIFF members were allegedly extorting food and money from them at gunpoint in the village of Shariff Saidona Mustapha.
As the soldiers approached the village, the armed men fired at them, resulting in an hour-long encounter in which villagers had confirmed that they saw four dead BIFF men and another two wounded being carried away by their cohorts, according to the military.
It added the soldiers also recovered along the BIFF escape route two assault rifles, a grenade launcher, improvised bombs and anti-tank rockets.
The BIFF, which has been blamed for a series of bomb attacks in Central Mindanao since 2010, was founded by the late veteran field commander Ameril Umbra Kato of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The military said Kato seceded from the MILF with about 1,000 of his armed followers following major policy differences with the front leaders over the conduct of their peace negotiations with the government.
The negotiations resulted in an historic peace agreement with the government that eventually saw the signing by President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte of the Bangsamoro Organic Law mandating the the establishment of a new Bangsamoro political entity whose initial territory is to come from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao composed of the provinces of Maguindalao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi as well as Marawi City.
The military also confirmed that the BIFF supported two other Daesh-linked terror groups – the Abu Sayyaf and the Maute Group – when they laid siege on Marawi, the capital city of Lanao del Sur, in May 2016 that prompted Duterte to declare martial law over the whole of troubled Mindanao, which has been extended with effect from Jan.1 to Dec.31, 2018.
Source: Gulf Today