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One killed in MILF-BIFF clash

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A member of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters was killed yesterday in a six-hour clash with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Sixth Infantry Division spokesman Major Arvin John Encinas of the Armed Force of the Philippines said elements of the MILF traded gunfire and mortar rounds with the group of Zaunudin Kiaro of the BIFF from 5 a.m. until 11 a.m. Thursday.

BIFF, a breakaway group of MILF led by the late Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato, is linked with the radical Islamic State (IS) terrorists.

Encinas said that as government forces moved in to support the MILF, the IS-linked BIFF fighters fled toward the village of Inidalan, Shariff Saydona town in Maguindanao using motorized boats.

“The MILF and soldiers later recovered the body of a slain BIFF member, later identified as Saudi Sabang,” he said.

The Philippine government has signed a peace agreement with the MILF that would be implemented under the recently-passed Bangsamoro Organic Law.

Under the ceasefire agreement with the MILF, government soldiers and MILF fighters will coordinate to neutralize lawless elements in MILF-held areas.

Maj. Gen. Cirilito E. Sobejana, 6th Infantry Division commander and head of Joint Task Force Central, lauded the MILF for its commitment to the ceasefire agreement and for helping the military prevent radical and extremist groups from infiltrating Moro communities to sow violent extremism.

The clash between the MILF and BIFF occurred barely two days after the anniversary of the liberation of Marawi City from the Maute group, another IS-inspired Islamic militant group.

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