MANILA - The Philippine National Police is investigating three possible motives behind Thursday's attack in Datu Piang, Maguindanao after suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) exchanged gunfire with the police and soldiers.
More troops were deployed in the area to secure the town, the PNP said.
Among the motives that investigators are considering are political rivalry among the town’s local executives, revenge for the death of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter member Abu Suffian in a police operation in Cotabato City last Dec. 1, and personal grudge against the Chief of Police of Datu Piang for the recent arrest of 2 BIFF members on drugs and firearms charges,” PNP Chief General Debold Sinas said in a statement.
The third motive is highly likely, said Sinas, because the Chief of Police was sought out by the armed men over the earlier arrest of its members who are relatives of the town’s Vice Mayor.
The military said BIFF members first exchanged gunfire with soldiers and police in Datu Piang on Thursday night. Afterwards, the group moved towards the town center and fired shots.
Police earlier identified Salahudin Hasan, alias Salah, and Muhiden Animbang Indong, alias Commander Karialan, as leaders of the 50 men that stormed the town’s poblacion area.
The group set fire to a police car and fired indiscriminately at a church and a school building.
While business activity returned to normal, government reinforcements were sent to maintain peace and order in the area.
All other nearby Municipal Police Stations in the province were also alerted against similar incidents.
No casualty was reported in the attack.