CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Intense fighting at the so-called “SPMS box” in the province entered its sixth day on Saturday with 14 Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and four soldiers killed so far in the clashes, the military here said.
The SPMS box refers to the adjoining towns of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi), Mamasapano, and Salibo where the outlawed BIFF mainly operates.
“On Friday, heavy fighting occurred in Barangay Salman of Ampatuan town where the extremists fled due to intense military air and ground assaults,” said Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID).
He added focused military operations against the Daesh-inspired BIFF are ongoing as of this posting.
Soldiers were also able to penetrate BIFF encampments and recover assorted firearms, ammunition, and improvised explosive devices the past several days.
Carreon said 14 BIFF radicals were killed in the series of military operations since March 1 but only five bodies were so far recovered by Army troopers.
“Locals in the area reported that nine other BIFF combatants were killed in the series of clashes but their remains were taken by their comrades,” he added.
Carreon said the military, meanwhile, lost four soldiers with 11 others wounded in the string of confrontations.
“We honor and salute our fallen soldiers who died in action as they lived up to their vow to protect the communities against enemies of the state,” the 6ID chief said. Noel Punzalan /PNA – northboundasia.com