SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: A member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was killed in a five-minute gunfight with the Army troops of the Joint Task Force Central in Maguindanao.
Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) on Monday said troops of the 61st Division Reconnaissance Company under 2Lt. Roy John Atoga encountered five BIFF members while conducting combat operations at Sitio Minanga, Barangay Bakat, in the town of Radjah Buayan, Maguindanao.
Petinglay said the firefight resulted in the death of BIFF member Gabriel Amado, 49, of Barangay Bakat.
Maj. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, JTF Central commander, said troops also recovered an improvised explosive device (IED), 20 rounds of live ammunition for a shotgun and personal belongings of the BIFF bandits.
No casualty was reported on the side of government troops.
Meanwhile, five more members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), including those listed at the top of Department of National Defense (DND) Arrest Order No.3 in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi surrendered to soldiers on Sunday.
ASG members Kadra Arajun Sawadjaan, AlnajarArajun Sawadjaan and Sherul Arad Sahiyul, carrying high-powered firearms, yielded to the Philippine Marine Ready Force-Sulu of the Joint Task Force Sulu following the surrender of other ASG late last year.
Soldiers picked up the former bandits at Barangay Bunot, Indanan, Sulu after earlier arrangements had been made to ensure their safety and security.
Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said the ASG members also surrendered an M16 rifle, an M79 Grenade Launcher, and a cal .45 pistol.
Those who surrendered were recruited by slain ASG sub-group leader Alhabsy Misaya and previously seen in recovered video marching and in formation with other Abu Sayyaf members in Indanan, Sulu in August 2015.
ASG members Titing Alihassan and Jun Hassan of Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi also surrendered to the marines bringing along an M16 rifle an M1 Garand rifle and a short magazine for M16 rifle with 22 ammunitions for caliber 5.56mm.
“Titing Alihassan is number one in our wanted list of Abu Sayyaf members and included in the DND Arrest Order No. 3,” said Brig. Gen. Custudio Parcon Jr., commander of Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi.
Alihassan was involved in the sea-jacking of Vietnamese flag vessel (M/V Giang Hai) in February 2017, according to Parcon.