COTABATO CITY (UPDATE) - Suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) exchanged gunfire with the police and soldiers in an attack in Datu Piang, Maguindanao on Thursday night, the military said.
Maj. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division, confirmed that a firefight ensued after BIFF gunmen harassed the Army’s Charlie Company of the 6th Infantry Battalion based in Kanguan, Datu Piang past 11 p.m.
“Doon muna nag-umpisa. Nong hindi nila makaya, nag-divert sila dahil napaatras sila ng tropa. Nakatakbo sila sa area ng Datu Piang,” Uy said.
The armed group is reportedly headed by the brother of BIFF leader Ustadz Karialan.
“We received an intelligence report that this group will launch attack in the area. Actually, tumulong din ang MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front). Nagbigay sila ng information kanina. Actually, the police, the municipality including the populace of Datu Piang were alerted," Uy said.
"Ang motive nila dito, gusto lang siguro nila magpakilala na nandito pa sila sa Central Mindanao."
He said that during the firefight, the armed BIFF militants maneuvered towards the town center and fired shots.
As of posting, 6th ID has yet to receive reports if there were civilians hurt in the incident.
Uy and the Armed Forces' Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) confirmed that a police vehicle was torched during the attack at the town center.
They denied reports that a school and a church were burned during the incident.
“Hindi totoo na may nasunog na church, school...'Yung police car ang nasunog. Walang na overrrun na police station kasi after 15 minutes nandoon na kaagad naka respond na ang Armed Forces," Uy said.--Reports from Lerio Bompat