CAMP SIONGCO, MAGUINDANAO – The military here claimed that at least seven armed Islamic state-bound Moro groups in Maguindanao were killed during the two-day artillery offensive in the swamp area of the province.
Capt. Arvin John Encinas, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said that officials and residents of Sitio Kabasalan, Barangay Darampua, Sultan sa Barongis town Maguindanao have recovered the deadly victims.
The 601st Infantry Brigade of the Army launched artillery fires of Monday night, hours before muslims Eid & # 39; l observed Adha (Sacrifice Feast) after the army confirmed the presence of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) under Ismael Abubakar aka "Commander Bungos" in the area.
Abubakar, an imam (Muslim preacher), was observed with about 50 armed followers in the sub-village of Kabasalan, a swampy community surrounded by water hyacinths in the middle of Liguasan Marsh.
Abubakar reportedly led one of the three BIFF factions that had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The group had moved around the marsh with wooden motorized boats and relied upon farmers and fishermen for forced taxation in the form of "zakat", an annual obligatory contribution of Muslims under Islamic laws, to be used for charitable and religious purposes.
Abu Misry Mama, speaking for the BIFF, said in a telephone interview that some of his colleagues were in the village of Darampua, Sultan sa Barongis during the first mortar bombardments.
"We left the area immediately because of the air strikes," he said. He denied that his group lost seven fighters.
"Only one person was injured," he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download from 4 hours and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
Contact us for feedback, complaints or questions.