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5 BIFF gunmen yield to Army, given livelihood

AFTER A weeklong negotiation, five members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) surrendered to military authorities in Talitay, Maguindanao on Thursday and handed over assorted high-powered firearms.

Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, said the rebels, whose identities were concealed for security reasons, surrendered to the Army’s 90th Infantry Battalion of the 601st Infantry Brigade.

In a turnover ceremony attended by Talitay Mayor Allan Sabal in neighboring Datu Anggal Midtimbang municipality, the rebels brought along with them two .30 caliber Garand rifles, a homemade 60 mm. mortar and ammunition, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, ammunition and a .45 caliber pistol.

Carreon said Sabal was instrumental in the surrender of the BIFF members.

“The former BIFF rebels decided to go back to the fold of the law because of the hardships they experienced in fighting government forces and also due to their desire to live normally as farmers and fishermen together with their families,” he said in a statement.

After their surrender, the former BIFF fighters received livelihood and housing assistance to help them start a new life.

Col. Jose Narciso, the Army’s 601st brigade commander, called on remaining BIFF members to surrender and lay down their arms so that peace can be achieved in Mindanao and for them to be with their families.(By Edwin Fernandez)

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