CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao — Government forces, backed by allied Moro combatants, seized motorboats, assorted firearms and improvised explosive devices during clearing operations in Barangay Poblacion, Datu Piang and Barangay Katibpuan, Talayan, all in Maguindanao.
Capt. Arvin John Encinas, Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID) spokesman, said the explosives and other war materials were owned by the ISIS – inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
The Army and its ally, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), jointly carried out the clearing operations.
“Civilians provided us the information about the armed men in their villages so we launched clearing maneuvers,” Encinas said.
Among those recovered were one M-653 rifle, one M-203 grenade launcher and assorted ammunition as well as bomb making components.
Encinas said a still unidentified supporter of BIFF sub-leader Abunawas Damiog alias Bayawak, kept the firearms of the militants underneath Olandang Bridge in Datu Piang town.
Civilians from Katibpuan, Talayan, meanwhile, pointed to the Army 10 motorized boats used by the BIFF in cruising tributaries of the 220,000–hectare Liguasan Marsh in the area.
Maj. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, 6th ID chief, lauded the civilians for helping the military hinder the movement of the lawless elements sans their motorboats and firearms.
“The successful operation was a result of the focused and intensified military operations against local terror groups in Central Mindanao,” he said.
This developed as five members of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to elements of the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion and Philippine Marines in Barangay Nililidan, Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat on Monday morning.
Encinas said the NPA rebels belonged to the Platoon Myphone of NPA Guerilla Front 73. The surrenderers turned over an M16 rifle, M14 rifle and an Ultimax caliber 5.62 rifle.
“This is one of the positive outcomes of an effective collaboration between the military and the civil authorities,” Dela Vega said. (PNA)