By Francis Wakefield
The military today said government troops have destroyed the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) main IED (Improvised Explosive Device) factory in Southern Liguasan, Maguindanao province, following intense military operations there.
In an interview, Army 6th Infantry Division (6th ID) commander Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, said the operation started at about 4 a.m. today when government troops launched air and ground assaults against Abu Turaife and his sub-leaders who are responsible in the IED production.
Sobejana said Abu Turaife and his sub-leaders have with them about 60 to 100 members. They also expect that a number of BIFF members were either hurt or killed as a result of their operation.
“It started early this morning at around 4 a.m. Clearing operations are still ongoing,” Sobejana said.
“So far the info that I can give you is that we were able to destroy the main IED factory in Southern Liguasan. So this is a big loss for them in terms of their IED emplacements in crowded areas,” he added.
Sobejana described their operation to be a deliberate one as it is centered in a very large area.
“Our operation covers a big area. It’s not in a specific barangay, sitio or municipality because it’s scattered around the area. What we did is very deliberate and we have to make sure that innocent civilians will not be affected. We also need to ensure that we preserve the peace process with the MILF,” Sobejana said.
Sobejana said troops used all available capabilities and assets to ensure victory and defeat the enemy.
“We used all capabilities, para generic, all available means. We employed reasonable force to neutralize the military target,” he said.
“We have occupied the area. In fact we have raised the Philippine flag at the IED manufacturing facility,” he added.
Sobejana said troops are still scouring the area to get more and defeat the enemy.
The BIFF is an islamist militant organization based in Mindanao. It is a smaller player in the overall Moro insurgency in the country and is mostly active in Maguindanao and other places in central Mindanao. It is a breakaway group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) founded by Ameril Umbra Kato.