MAGUINDANAO — Soldiers from the Philippine Army's 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion engaged in a gun battle with about 40 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Datu Salibo town on Friday, the military said.
The firefight lasted for about 15 minutes.
The clash started when armed men began stirring up trouble at a military detachment called Zone of Peace and Development in Barangay Sambolawan at around 6 p.m. on Friday evening.
Lt. Col. Warlito Limet, commander of the Army's 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, told ABS-CBN News by phone that the military was monitoring the vicinity, acting on reports that Bangsamoro rebels had planned to carry out acts of violence during New Year celebrations.
Soldiers were patrolling the area when they encountered the armed men.
No casualties were reported on the military side. Officials have yet to confirm if rebels were killed.
The 6th Infantry Division is on full alert for the New Year celebration to keep military installations and camps, as well as the highway, safe for the next few days.