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(UPDATE) Islamic State-inspired militants attack Maguindanao town




The burning church. (Photo courtesy of WV Tigle)

Members of an Islamic State-inspired faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked the town proper of Datu Piang, Maguindanao, late Thursday, burning a police outpost and patrol car, a military official said.

Lt. Col. Anhouvic Atilano, Army 6th Infantry Division spokesman, said government forces stationed at the town engaged the attackers in a firefight and eventually repelled them after several minutes.

Armed men led by several BIFF sub-commanders, including Saga Animbang and alias “Motorola,” barged into Brgy. Poblacion around 10:30 p.m., Atilano said by phone.

The gunmen burned a PNP outpost, but police managed to abandon it earlier upon learning that an attack was coming, he said.

Also burned was a police patrol vehicle, Atilano said.

Atilano denied social media posts that the militants burned a school and a church in the town.

The church that was burned by the rebels. (Photo courtesy of Gobi Tamsi)

“Pinasok nila yung Poblacion ng Datu Piang pero nakahanda naman ang tropa natin doon, may isang battalion na naka-station dun at na-repel ang atake,” he said.

The fighting lasted for about 40 minutes before the militants retreated.

No one was hurt among the soldiers, while it has yet to be determined if the militants suffered casualties, Atilano added.

“At present, our troops are in the area and in control of the situation. There was no reported casualties on the PNP except for the patrol car that was burned by the BIFF. We are currently investigating the incident,” said Lt. Col. Alaric delos Santos, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman.