MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced that another 20 Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were killed, including three close relatives of Filipino terrorist Basit Usman, during a series of encounters in Shariff Saydona Mustapha town, Maguindanao Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public spokesperson, identified two of Usman’s slain relatives as nephews Rene Masabpi and Kumidi Simeon.
This brings the number of BIFF killed in the military offensive, that started last Feb. 25, to 116 and 63 wounded.
Another unidentified relative of elusive terrorist leader Basit Usman was also killed in fierce clashes with Marine troopers in the swampland of Barangay Pamalian, also in Shariff Saydona Mustapha.
The three fatalities were buried by retreating BIFF forces in shallow graves in Sitio Ilang, Barangay Tina, Shariff Aguak
Civilian informants pinpointed their burial sites to government troops.
The operating troops under Marine Battalion Landing Team-8 spotted more or less 20 bandits who were either dead or wounded during the series of firefights.
“They were carried away by comrades when they fled from the encounter site,” Cabunoc added.
The operating troops of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-8, led by Lt. Col. Willy Manalang, were closing in on the group of Usman and five terrorists who were being coddled by BIFF leader Mohammad Ali Tambako.
Troops are following blood traces left behind by bandits.