At least 20 terrorists, including 2 sub-leaders of the Daesh-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and a Singaporean bomber, were killed in bombardment and ground assault on a BIFF lair in Maguindanao since Monday, the military said on Tuesday.
Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Army's 6th Infantry Division, said remnants of the BIFF are still resisting government troops aiming to occupy a terrorist camp in Shariff Saydona Mustapha.
Military aircraft and howitzers bombed on Monday morning the BIFF lair, where about 120 BIFF men were consolidating and planning attacks. The bombardment was followed by ground assault, leading to skirmishes.
Among those reported killed were BIFF sub-leaders Salahudin Hassan and a certain Commander Bastardo and Singaporean bomber Muhamad Ali Abdul Rahiman, alias Mauwiyah.
"We are still validating the figure but some of them are high-value targets or high-value individuals," said Sobejana.
Sobejana said soldiers were able to recover body parts scattered in the area. "There are a lot indicators that they are part of those who got killed," he said.
As to the fate of BIFF leader Abu Toraype, Sobejana said: "We could not confirm or deny if he was killed or not. We have mobilized contacts to the ground to confirm if he was among those killed."
Sobejana said they have also received reports that many other BIFF members were wounded in the fighting.
"We were able to monitor that they are extricating their wounded, along with some of their fatalities," he said.
On the government side, Sobejana said one soldier died while 7 were injured.
"There are still pocket of resistance. They have splintered into smaller groups in the vast area. We have beefed up our forces so we can follow every direction of the enemy," the official said.
He said the military again conducted bombing runs and shelling of enemy positions yesterday.
Sobejana said soldiers have controlled parts of the enemy stronghold but the military is expecting the BIFF men to counter attack.
"We are partially in control of the area, of their stronghold....We are now occupying some of the areas that they have control before," he said.
"Now our objective is to control the whole area. That's why we expect more resistance," added Sobejana.