BIFF Enters MILF Ground; AFP Halts Offensive

Manila, Philippines, 13 Syawal 1437/18 July 2016 (MINA) – The military offensive against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has been temporarily halted after the rebels entered the bailiwick of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which has ongoing peace talks with the government, Philstar reported.

Col. Cirilito Sobejana, commander, Army’s 601st brigade, yesterday said they are now coordinating with the MILF leadership to be able to get the BIFF members in their enclave.

A meeting is set today in Cotabato, he said.

Sobejana said there were about 80 BIFF members on the run, but “based on the agreement, we need to relocate or reposition the MILF before we can proceed further.”

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“Our people are holding the ground and we are ready to resume our assault once we clarify with authorities the issue on the MILF presence,” he said.

The military has been conducting offensive operations against lawless elements in the area for several weeks now, Sobejana said.

“As far as the leadership of the MILF is concerned, they don’t want to accommodate BIFF members. But blood is thicker than water, other members of the MILF are brothers, fathers, and sons of those in the BIFF.”

Sobejana said on the fourth day of the military engagement, the BIFF has started to abandon the fight because the rebels are running short of ammunition and suffer several casualties. (T/R07/R01)

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Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)