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1 cop dead in latest BIFM attack

COTABATO CITY, Philippines- Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement bandits gunned down a member of the police’s elite Special Action Force in another attack Friday night, just as powerful bombs exploded one after another in three areas in Central Mindanao.

Police Director Manuel Barcena, chief of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Southwestern Mindanao, said the slain policeman, PO1 Randy Dumaguing, belonged to a SAF battalion just deployed along stretches of the Cotabato-Gen. Santos Highway BIFM guerillas occupied from Monday dawn until Thursday.

“The unit was deployed there for law enforcement activities after our counterparts in the Army drove the bandits away,” Barcena said.

Barcena said the Maguindanao provincial police and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group are to file criminal charges anytime soon against commanders of the BIFM that led guerillas in their four-day siege of portions of the highway traversing the adjoining towns of Datu Saudi, Datu Unsay, Shariff Aguak.

The hostilities in four towns started with the BIFM’s simultaneous attacks before midnight Sunday on Army roadside detachments and command posts along portions of the highway in the four towns and in Guindulungan and Ampatuan municipalities. In Maguindanao, they also plundered villages and robbed farmers of farm animals and set off bombs that sent villagers running for their lives.

The bandits also set on fire more than 50 houses of civilians and bombed evacuation sites.
“The portions of the highway that were closed to traffic the past days have been re-opened, but the security remains tight,” Barcena said.

The BIFM guerillas attacked the SAF unit in Datu Unsay just hours after its deployment in the area.

“That was a sad development,” Barcena said.

While SAF operatives were fighting BIFM guerillas, suspected members of the group blasted improvised explosive devices along a national highway in North Cotabato’s adjoining Mlang and Kabacan towns, and Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, not far from the Army’s Camp Siongco beside the Cotabato City Airport.

There were no reports of casualties, but the bombings triggered panic in the areas where the bombers set them off.

Local officials said Friday night’s attack on the SAF members in Datu Unsay and the bombings could be the BIFM’s retaliation for the heavy losses in their five-day brigandage.

Members of the municipal peace and order councils in the towns the BIFM attacked have confirmed that 27 bandits were killed in the Army’s counter-offensives which waned only last Friday morning. 

John Unson | The Philippine Star | August 11, 2012 | Article Link


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