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Philippine Army captures Maguindanao BIFM camp, hospital

Government troops seized two more Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement camps, one of which was a hospital where the ailing BIFM leader Ameril Umbra Kato was reportedly previously taken.
According to Col. Prudencio Asto, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, the hospital is located in Maguindanao province’s Datu Hoffer town.
The first BIFM camp was captured Saturday morning by troops from the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion after a heavy military bombardment. The camp could accommodate 100 people and has 10 bunkers with overhead protection, said Army spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc.
“Several war materials and personal belongings were left behind by the rebels who hastily fled with numerous casualties when the artillery bombardments began,” said Cabunoc, quoting 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion commander Lt. Col. Ignatius Patrimonio.
Meanwhile, Asto said the camp, which also serves as a training ground for BIFM fighters, was seized with minor enemy resistance. The Rangers recovered Korans in a lecture room.
Sunday morning, Asto said the soldiers seized the second satellite camp which he said had bunkers and running trenches.
“It’s their camp where their hospital is located,” said Asto.  The troops seized medicines and a wheelchair believed to have been used by Kato, who suffered a stroke last December.
Citing an intelligence report, Asto said Kato, a former leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, was brought to the hospital last Aug. 6 and left a day later. He said intelligence agents are tracking Kato.
“He was not in the area; he was not in the camp. He is probably in the communities,” said Asto of Kato, who established the BIFM last year due to differences with the MILF leadership.
Including this latest capture of the two camps, the military has seized five rebel lairs since they mounted an offensive against the BIFM August 5.
The offensive began after the rebels attacked 10 military installations in Maguindanao, including the headquarters of the 1st Mechanized Brigade.
Military officials claimed that at least 50 BIFM fighters have been killed since the fighting broke out. On the other hand, four soldiers and a policeman died and several soldiers were wounded in the skirmishes.
GMA News Online | August 20, 2012 | Article Link


  1. Anonymous3:01 PM

    the government and citizens can only negotiate with people who also desire peace and security. maybe we can never deal with believers of terror and unjust violence.


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