MANILA–An estimated 47 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and their allies were reported killed and wounded while five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and numerous components were seized during a three-day operation in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.
The offensive against the BIFF started March 13 and ended on the 16th, Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay said in a statement Sunday.
The series of military operations, which included artillery and air strikes, was conducted by troopers from Joint Task Force-Central (JTF-C).
JTF-C head Brig. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega said an initial 21 terrorists were killed and another 26 wounded in their operations.
No casualties were reported among pursuing government troops.
In the same vein, five IEDs (four pressure-type and one command detonated) and numerous IED components were recovered in Barangay Tee of the above-mentioned locality.
Dela Vega said the three-day offensive was designed to dislocate forces under Muhammad Ali Bin Abdulrahman alias Muawiyah, allegedly a foreign terrorist; Salahuddin Hassan, a bomber trained by the latter, and Esmael Abdulmalik alias Abu Toraype, the Dawlah Islamiyah Maguindanao founder and a BIFF brigade commander.
Validations are being made on the ground on the persistent reports that these terrorists were killed in the well-planned, well-coordinated, and well-executed massive air and ground operations.
These brigands were reportedly the allies of Marwan, the target of the SAF PNP operations in January 2015, and are responsible for the series of bombing incidents in Mindanao.
Their group is also conducting IED training among newly recruited members from different Provinces including those from the Maute Group, with test missions that target NGCP towers, public areas, and conveyances.