2.7K Mamasapano residents flee as Army, BIFF clash in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 10, 2019): 2.7K Mamasapano residents flee as Army, BIFF clash in Maguindanao

RENEWED CLASHES. An old villager on a bicycle peacefully crosses the new Tukanalipao bridge in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao in this file photo. Fresh clashes erupted anew Saturday (Nov. 9, 2019) between Army troopers and Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters after the radicals harassed government forces stationed in the area. (Photo by PNA-Cotabato)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao — Some 2,700 people were displaced after Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) linked to the Islamic State (IS) harassed government forces stationed in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Saturday.

A rebel was killed while two others were wounded in a clash between elements of the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion (33IB) and BIFF along Tukanalipao River, site of the killing of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) members in 2015.

Ismael Hashim, chairperson of Barangay Tukanalipao, said the firefight erupted after rebels opened fire on soldiers stationed near the new bridge built across the river.

Citing information from locals, Hashim said the fleeing BIFF took their dead and two wounded cohorts away following ground and artillery attacks by government forces.

“There was no reported casualty on the government side,” he told reporters here in a phone interview on Sunday.

Government troops, led by Lt. Col. Elmer Boongaling, 33IB commander, responded to reports from residents about BIFF massing up in the tri-borders of Tukanalipao, Tuka, and Pedsandawan villages, all in Mamasapano town.

Hashim said all the residents of Barangay Tukanalipao have fled to adjacent villages for fear of getting caught in the crossfire.

The more than 450 families or 2,700 individuals have sought refuge in nearby villages.

In January 2015, an elite police force operation against Malaysian terror bomber Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan,” resulted in the killing of 44 SAF members.

Seventeen rebels and five civilians were also killed in the ensuing clashes that same day.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1085569

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