BIFF training officer killed in clash with Army

By Edwin Fernandez

March 23, 2024, 12:05 pm

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao Norte – A ranking officer of the extremist Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was killed during an encounter with government forces in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao del Sur, an Army official said Saturday.

Brig. Gen. Jose Vladimir Caraga, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, identified the slain rebel as Abu Halil, the training officer of the BIFF headed by Ustadz Kagi Karialan.

Caraga said a 20-minute firefight erupted in Sitio Binakuyan, Barangay Lower Salbu, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday while the soldiers were checking on reports from civilians about the presence of heavily armed men in the village.

“Most people are awake even during the wee hours of the night because they are observing the fasting month (of Ramadan),” he said.

Caraga said Abu Halil is the brother of Khadafi Abdulatif, the chief of staff of the BIFF Kagui Karialan faction. Soldiers conducting clearing operations in the encounter site found the body of Halil left by his comrades. Found near his body was an M16 rifle with ammunition.

Maj. Gen. Alex S. Rillera, 6th Infantry Division commander, said that while the operation was successful in protecting the people, especially during Ramadan, he was sad one has to die for pursuing a meaningless ideology.

“I commend the 1st Combat Brigade for the successful operation, but I reiterate my call for the extremists to consider returning to the mainstream so you will not suffer the fate of Halil,” said Rillera, also the commander of the Joint Task Force Central. (PNA)