KIDAPAWAN CITY – Troops killed a brother of the notorious pro-ISIS commander of the militant group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters or BIFF in fierce fighting Thursday in the restive southern Philippine region of Mindanao, officials announced.
Officials said the clash erupted in Liguasan marshland in the troubled province of Maguindanao where soldiers killed Ali Abdulmalik, whose brother Esmail Abdulmalik, who is also called Abu Turaife, is the leader of Dawlah Islamiya or Islamic State in Mindanao.
“Early this morning, 6th Infantry Division troopers engaged in a heavy firefight against the BIFF in Liguasan marsh which resulted to the death of Ali Abdulmalik, brother of Abu Turaifei, Commander of Dawlah Islamiya,” Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said.
Sobejana did not say if there were military casualties in the fighting, but the BIFF also claimed the motorcycle bombing in Sultan Kudarat’s Isulan town in August 28 last year that killed 2 persons and wounded at least 35 others.
The blast coincided with the town’s 61st founding anniversary and occurred while the whole region is under martial rule. The motorcycle was parked along the highway near several shops in Kalawag village when it exploded. Two other improvised explosives were recovered not far from the area.
It was not immediately known whether the BIFF was also behind the April 3 bombing of the Carlito’s Chicken, a famous restaurant in Kalawag village in Isulan town that wounded 18 people.
Maj. Arvin Encinas, an army spokesman, said soldiers and policemen recovered from the blast site broken parts of a 9 volt battery and fragments of a cell phone, believed used to detonate the bomb, and concrete nails, including pieces of plastic container which were all part of the improvised explosive that went off outside the restaurant.
“We are still investigating who was behind this dastardly act. We also tightened security in the town to help local police force guard Isulan,” he said.
Sobejana said the bomber used an anti-personnel mine in the attack. He said the bombing occurred a week after an extortion letter was sent to the owner of Carlito’s Chicken by a lawless group. “The possible motives here are extortion and retaliation or diversionary tactics by lawless groups,” he said.
Mayor Marites Pallasigue said one of the food attendants in the restaurant saw a man left a plastic bag inside and immediately left. She said the witness followed the man to say that he left his bag, but he quickly disappeared outside the restaurant. The food attendant picked up the bag and put it outside the diner where it exploded nearly an hour later, according to Pallasigue.
No individual or group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack, but last year’s bombing in Isulan was claimed by ISIS, according to SITE Intelligence report. (With a report from Rhoderick Beñez.)
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