Manhunt on for BIFF members who killed militiaman

By Edwin Fernandez

March 20, 2018, 12:02 pm

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato – Authorities here have launched a manhunt against suspected members of outlawed Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who shot dead Monday a militiaman in a remote village here.

Police Supt. Gilbert Tuzon, Midsayap town police chief, said the killing of Toto Pangilidan Sumlay, a member of the Army’s 38th Infantry Battalion - Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) could have been part of the group's counter-offensive to avenge the death of two BIFF members last week.

Sumlay was standing in a house of a relative in Barangay Poblacion 7 here when three men riding on a motorbike arrived around 7 p.m. One of them shot Sumlay using a .45-caliber pistol.

The attackers sped off following the incident, leaving behind the victim who sustained three fatal gunshot wounds in the body.

Sumlay has been part of the village defenders operating in the borders of Midsayap in North Cotabato and Datu Piang in Maguindanao, a known bailiwick of the IS-linked BIFF. He was part of a blocking force against fleeing BIFF elements from Maguindanao to North Cotabato.

The military has been pounding BIFF locations in the Maguindanao-North Cotabato borders with rockets and artillery since last week.

At least 44 BIFF were killed, 12 others hurt during last week’s assault against the group. Three soldiers were also injured in the skirmishes.

Tuzon said a joint police – military team is hunting down Sumlay’s killers, and has assured the public that the national highway linking Midsayap and Datu Piang remains safe for commuters. (Edwin Fernandez/PNA)