61 dead, 60 wounded as military ops vs. BIFF continue in Maguindanao

UNTV News and Rescue

Courtesy of LT. Col. Harold Cabunoc Fb account

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines – The military’s surgical operation against ISIS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) continue for the tenth day on Tuesday (July 11).

The armed conflict began on Monday (July 2) following a firefight that broke out at Dapiawan Elementary School in the town of Datu Saudi-Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

According to UNTV sources, four soldiers on the side of the government were killed-in-action and 20 others were wounded.

Meanwhile, 57 BIFF members were neutralized by the military and 40 others were wounded, according to the source.

The military, so far, has recovered 20 high-powered firearms and 10 improvised explosives from the bandits.

 “Continuing ang focused military operation ng Joint Task Force Central at base na rin sa pronouncement ni General Sobejana na hindi nila titigilan hangga’t mayroong teroristang grupo na nandoon sa SPMS box sa Maguindanao,” said AFP West Mindanao Command Spokesperson Lt. Col, Gerry Besana. “SPMS box” refers to the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin or Datu Piang, Mamasapano and Salibo in Maguindanao.

The military continues its airstrikes in the area utilizing all available air assets and 105 Howitzer tanks to its ground efforts.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) makes use of the existing martial law in Mindanao to neutralize the terror group and prevent further hostilities, particularly in Central Mindanao.

On the other hand, the BIFF leadership seems to be underestimating the ongoing military operations. BIFF Spokesperson Abu Misri Mama said reports that many of their members have been killed are just part of the military’s propaganda.

“Marami naman tayong mga tauhan. Nagchi-change sila. Mga bala ay marami tayo. Iyong mga pronouncement nila sa mga radio, propaganda lang nila kasi para matakpan iyong kanilang mga kahihiyan,” said Abu Misri Mama.

Meanwhile, the AFP WestMinCom assures to protect and prevent civilian casualties in the encounter. There are around 10,000 evacuees already sent to temporary shelters while the fight is ongoing. – Dante Amento / Marje Pelayo

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