BIFF WAR MATERIEL. The firearms and improvised bombs recovered by government troops following an artillery fire mission towards a lair of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao del Sur province on Feb. 5, 2023. Three BIFF rebels were killed while another was captured during the operation. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao del Norte – Government forces have foiled attempted bombing plots by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following an artillery offensive that left three extremists killed and one captured in Maguindanao del Sur province, military officials reported Wednesday.

Lt. Colonel Benjamin Cadiente, the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (IB) commander, said the “fire mission” took place Sunday and was directed towards a BIFF lair in remote Barangay Liab, Mamasapano town, Maguindanao del Sur.

“The artilleries were focused toward the group of BIFF commander Boy Jacket,” Cadiente said.

He identified one of the three fatalities as “Alias Suharto,” of Barangay Dapiawan in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province.

Cadiente said the two other fatalities are yet to be identified while the one captured is still undergoing questioning.

After the accurate artillery fires, soldiers recovered an M16 rifle, two homemade pistols, a .45-caliber pistol, five M79 rifle grenades, and three improvised bombs, including an explosive device fashioned from 81mm mortar with mobile phones as trigger mechanism.

“We received information from residents regarding the presence of Boy Jacket’s group. The residents also do not want the BIFF to stay in their area,” Cadiente said.

Major Gen. Alex Rillera, the Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said the government will continue extending the hand of peace for rebels who want to surrender.

“The government is ready to give you a bright future, but if you continue to sow violence and strike against our troops, you can expect our intense pursuit until we get you,” Rillera told the BIFF members who continue to fight the government.

Since last month, at least 10 BIFF rebels have surrendered to the Army in Maguindanao and North Cotabato province while three have died during armed encounters. (PNA)