Four members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, including a brother of a top terrorist leader, were killed while 11 others were wounded following a running gunbattle against government troopers in Maguindanao early Monday.
The military said one of those wounded was a nephew of another terrorist leader belonging to a separate radical group.
Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division identified the slain terrorists as Ali Abdul Malik, brother of BIFF leader Abu Toraype; and three others who have yet to be unidentified
Citing intelligence reports, Sobejana identified two of the wounded terrorists as Hairudin Abubakar and a certain Maranao, all members of the Bungos group, a separate faction of the BIFF.
The killing of the four BIFF members came after security forces launched search and destroy operations against terrorists operating in the outskirts of Maguindanao, particularly in Datu Unsay town.
While searching for the terrorists’ lair, ground troops launched indirect fire which hit the supposed hideout of Ali Abdul Malik, triggering a fierce firefight.
After a lull in the fighting, ground troops conducted clearing operations, which led to the recovery of war materiel, including Improvised Explosive Devices.
Hours later, the BIFF Bungos faction tried to reinforce their comrades under the Toraype group, triggering renewed firefight which led to the deaths of the terrorists
Sobejana said a volley of gunfire and mortar fire backed by air strikes were launched against the terrorists who numbered to more than a hundred fighters positioned in separate locations.
As the firefight continues, ground troops maneuvered to a strategic area in anticipation of another reinforcement from a separate BIFF group led by Commander Karialan, which failed to materialize.
The recent clash came following last Monday’s firefight between soldiers and the BIFF which wounded a number of civilians and army troopers at the outskirts of Isulan town.