Hundreds flee as military pursues BIFF in Maguindanao

Jasper Acosta, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2017 05:57 PM

A military tanker is parked as soldiers launch an offensive against Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.

Datu Salibo, Maguindanao – A total of 335 families from 5 villages here fled their homes after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) launched a military offensive against Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Barangay Tee, Datu Salibo early Monday.

Captain Arvin Encinas, chief of the 6th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office, said operations were launched after the military monitored members of the BIFF in Barangay Tee, and was part of the military's anti-terrorism campaign.

Last week, 2 soldiers of the army’s 57th infantry battalion were wounded in a separate bomb explosion and "harassment" allegedly conducted by the BIFF in the towns of Datu Salibo and Shariff Aguak.

Encinas said AFP used air assets and mortar shelling in the operation that lasted for 3 hours.

No casualties were reported so far in the BIFF, according to their spokesperson, Abu Amir.

However, Datu Salibo Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management council officer, Abbey Unos said the military operations sowed fear in communities of Barangay Tee, Sambulawan, Andavit, Butilen and Animao.

Affected residents have appealed for food assistance from the government.