NDRRMC: 8 killed, 25,650 affected in fighting between govt soldiers, BIFM members
In its 6 a.m. update, the NDRRMC said the fatalities in the clash included four soldiers and four Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) members.
BIFM is a splinter group of the MILF, which is conducting peace negotiations with the government.
The four fatalities from the government side were identified as:
- Sgt. Sonny Estabillo (38th Infantry Battalion)
- Pfc. Arsenio Nunescan (1 Mechanized Brigade)
- Pfc. Henry Caunga (68th Infantry Battalion)
- Pvt. Duniel Aragon (68th Infantry Battalion)
Injured soldiers included 1Lt. John Dave Aguilar (46th Infantry Battalion); Cpl. Romel Mantos (603rd Brigade); and Pfc. Mar Batanas (62nd DRC).
On the other hand, the NDRRMC said 25,650 people or 5,130 families from 15 villages were affected by the fighting.
Of these, 2,296 families or 11,480 people are staying in 11 evacuation centers.
The NDRRMC said the fighting started 11:30 p.m. Aug. 5 when the BIFM harassed military facilities in Maguindanao.
Clearing operations were undertaken Aug. 7 at the national highway connecting Cotabato City and Isulan in Sultan Kudarat. But the NDRRMC's Thursday morning update said the highway is still "closed and considered unsafe."
At least 22 fires were recorded, including 13 houses in Barangay Meta, two in Barangay Iganagampong, and seven in Maitumaig.
Classes in 16 schools were suspended, affecting 10,572 students and 260 teachers.
Not in state of war
For his part, Acting Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman said, "There is no truth to the information circulating on Twitter, Facebook and social media which alleged that war has allegedly broken out in Mindanao."
"Please refrain from sharing and posting similar information so as not to cause undue panic," he added.
He said the attacks were only limited in some areas and that government forces have already contained most of the pockets of violence.
Meanwhile, he said last night's attack to a contingent of the military undergoing mobile patrol in Mindanao State University in Marawi City is a handiwork of syndicates.
Security and law enforcement operations are ongoing, he added. — LBG, GMA News