5 MILF fighters killed, 7 others hurt in Maguindanao blast

Lore Mae Andong, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2017 08:33 PM

MAGUINDANAO -- Five members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were killed in an explosion in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao Sunday morning.

Based on the report from the Philippine Army's 6th Civil Military Operations (CMO) Batallion based in Cotabato City, the victims were members of the Task Force Itihad of the MILF under its military wing.

According to 6th CMO Batallion commander and Joint Task Force Central spokesman Col. Gerry Besana, the members of the Task Force Itihad led by Kagui Asrap were conducting clearing operations against the Daesh-inspired Abu Turayfe-Jamaatul Mudjahireen Wal-Ansar group in the area when the improvised explosive device (IED) went off.

Seven others were also wounded and immediately brought to Cotabato City for medical treatment.

According to Besana, the operation was closely coordinated with the 6th Infantry Division (ID), based on the protocol set by the ongoing peace process to which the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the MILF are committed to support each other in fighting peace spoilers in the area. 

The leadership of the Joint Task Force Central has also pledged to provide initial support to the MILF, especially those who are wounded during encounters.

6th ID Commander Major General Arnel dela Vega expressed sympathy to the families of those who perished fighting the terrorists.

The MILF, meanwhile, refused to issue a statement with regards to the incident as operations are still ongoing against the Abu Turayfe group.