BIFF death toll now 20

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DAVAO CITY (MMarch 14) — Clashes between government forces and the Bangsamoro Islamic Federation Fighters (BIFF) has now reached 20 as fighting continues on its fourth day.

“We will not ease up our operation against the BIFF. We have the support of the communities,” Major Arvin John Encinas, Army’s 6th Infantry Division spokesperson, 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 government has so far one casualty in the person of Sgt. Romy Obogan of the Army’s 61st Reconnaissance Company.

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.

As the fighting continues within Salibo-Pagatin-Mamasapano-Shariff Aguak (SPMS) area, eight soldiers were reported wounded.

“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.

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. (with reports from PNA)


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