KIDAPAWAN CITY – Security forces killed 2 senior commanders of the pro-ISIS group called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in fierce fighting Saturday in North Cotabato province, south of the Philippines, officials said.
Officials said one soldier was also wounded in the clash that erupted in Olandang village in Midsayap town where policemen, backed by army soldiers, were sent to arrest wanted senior BIFF commanders.
“Combined troops of 34th Infantry Battalion and Midsayap Municipal Police Station were serving warrants of arrest when they were fired upon by heavily armed men under Mando Mamalompong that ensued a heavy exchanges of fire. The terrorist group were ready to confront the security forces as they were occupying fortified positions,” said Lt. Col. Glenn Loreto Caballero, the battalion commander.
He said Mamalompong, commander of the BIFF’s 2nd Division, who was also the spokesman of the militant group, and Nur Hamid were both slain in the fighting. Soldiers also seized two automatic rifles from the area.
Brig. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, commander of the 602nd Infantry Brigade, said security forces tracked down the militants after civilians passed off information to the military on the hideout of Mamalompong. “The successful operation is attributed to the information shared by the local residents who did not want terrorists’ presence in their area,” he said.
Authorities have tagged the BIFF, whose leaders have pledged allegiance to ISIS, as behind the spate of attacks on military and civilian targets in the province. (With a report from Rhoderick Beñez.)
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