MAGUINDANAO - Authorities confiscated various firearms and explosives from suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Barangay Kauran, Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
601st Brigade Commander Col. Cirilito Sobejana said the mortar rounds recovered from the suspected BIFF members were intended to be transported to major cities in Central Mindanao.
Soldiers recovered 10 high powered firearms including a machine gun, M-14 and M-16 riffles, an M-203 grenade launcher, shotgun and an improvised automatic grenade launcher.
Explosives, including 18 rounds of mortar and 4,693 assorted ammunition, were also recovered.
"Yung mga baril may mga naka chamber na bala ibig sabihin babalikan nila yun at sesecure nila yung area. 'Yung mga mortar nasa box hindi pa namin alam nung una pero pag hila biglang umusok nangamoy pulbura hindi namin mabuksan kasi kailangan ng eod kaya dinala nalang namin yung mga box," Sobejano said.
Sobejano said it appeared that the rebels planned to transport the explosives.
"Dadalhin sa labas pero hindi nila magawa kasi tadtad tayo ng checkpoint dahil na nga rin sa state of national emergency. Walang specific but urbanized areas are potential targets. Hindi pa kami definite kung anong purpose ng kanilang pag relocate ng kanilang kagamitang pandigma," Sobejana said.
The Army's 601st Infantry Brigade, through the 57th Infantry Battalion, recovered war materials in an encounter between suspected BIFF men in Sitio Sanyag, Barangay Kauran, around 5 p.m. Saturday.
"Actually we acted on the report from some civilians in the area na mayrong armed elements. Siyempre with the peace agreement with the MILF, we checked baka MILF. We did the necessary coordination and nalaman namin na hindi sila MILF members. After the incident we received reports na they're going to retaliate and ang grupo na magretaliate we cheked the identity, they're members of the BIFF. So with this I can connect with the BIFF," Sobejana added.
Soldiers are continuously monitoring the movement of the rebel group.