MANILA – The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is allegedly aiding Maute and Abu Sayyaf extremists against government troops in Marawi City, the military said Monday.
Troops working to prevent more Maguindanao-based BIFF fighters from reaching Marawi, said military spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla.
“Lahat naman ng mga armadong grupong ito nagtutulungan… Iyung mga armado nila tumutulong sa kabila, nagsasanib pwersa iyan,” Padilla told reporters.
(These armed groups are helping each other. They join forces.)
The BIFF in a breakaway group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Unlike the MILF, the group is not talking peace with the government.
Some 100 people have been killed in nearly a week of fighting in Marawi City. The fresh violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.
"Surgical airstrikes” against the rebels continued on Monday, Padilla said.
Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, whom authorities tried to arrest last week, remains holed up in Marawi City, he said.