Camp Siongco, Maguindanao—Unidentified gunmen ambushed and killed three soldiers and injured two others in the Maguindanao town of Datu Salibo and in Cotabato City.
Major Arvin John Encinas, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, identified the casualties in the Maguindanao incident as Privates Junard Estribor and Nelier Pinto, both of the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion.
Injured in the same incident were Pvt. Muqtadir Sampulna, also of the 57th IB, and a female bystander whose identity was not immediately known.
Encinas said the soldiers were aboard a Toyota Vios car when they were waylaid along Sitio Kurungan, Barangay Sambulawan, past 2 p.m.
Estribor and Pinto died instantly, while the wounded Sampulna and the woman were taken to a hospital.
“The gunmen used M16 rifles based on the empty shells recovered at the site of the ambush,” Encinas said.
He said intelligence reports pointed to the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters as behind the attack.
“The BIFF continues to be on the run due to ongoing military operations against them in their pinpointed lairs in Maguindanao,” Encinas said.
Also on Thursday, motorcycle-riding gunmen shot dead an Army man along Sinsuat Avenue in Rosary Heights 10, Cotabato City, shortly before noon.
Police Col. Michel Lebanan, city police director, said Staff Sgt. Verande Lardera, 40, of the Army’s 37th IB, was on board a motorbike when he was tailed and fired upon by the gunmen.
“The Army man succumbed to four gunshot wounds,” Lebanan said.