BIFF follower killed, leader hurt in NoCot clash

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MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato — A member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was killed while a BIFF leader and a soldier were injured in a firefight in a remote village here, a top military official said Thursday.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said the firefight ensued while a joint military and police team was on a law enforcement support operation (LESO) in Barangay Kadingilan, this town at about 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Sobejana identified the slain BIFF member as Pakindal Baganian alias “Tawan-Tawan”, while the wounded was Samad Masgal, alias Commander Madrox, who is also wanted by authorities.

The wounded soldier, who is assigned with the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion, was admitted to the Camp Siongco Station Hospital in Maguindanao, he said.

Sobejana said the troops were about to serve a warrant of arrest against Masgal when they clashed against 10 BIFF members, who are followers of BIFF leader Kagi Karialan.

He said the troops recovered the remains of Baganian, as well as an M-14 rifle with ammunition at the clash site. Baganian’s remains were turned over to local officials for a decent burial according to Islamic rites.

The official said that the other BIFF members fled, carrying the injured Masgal.

“The LESO is part of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) mandated task to ensure the security and safety of each individual against any threat groups,” Sobejana said.

Lt. Col. Glenn Loreto Caballero, the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion commander said, “The success of the operation was manifested by the strong cooperation and commitment among the security forces and civilians in the area to the fight against criminality.” 

Brig. Gen. Alfredo Rosario Jr., commander of the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade, said the residents of Barangay Kadingilan appreciated the joint efforts of the government forces in going after  the group that continuously threatens the civilian community.
The BIFF has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. (PNA)

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