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5 soldiers killed in separate attacks by MILF renegade group in Mindanao

July 7, 2013 2:33pm
Five soldiers were killed Saturday in two separate attacks by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the armed wing of a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a military official said Sunday.

Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman for the Philippine Army's 6th Infantry Division, said three soldiers, including a military official, were killed when a landmine exploded while they were conducting operations against the BIFF in Shariff Saidona Mustapha town in Maguindanao at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Earlier on the same day, two soldiers were killed in a firefight with BIFF members in Pikit town in North Cotabato at 11 a.m., Hermoso said.

Hermoso said the identities of the fatalities will not be revealed until their families shall have been notified.

The Army official said the attacks may have been launched by the BIFF, the armed component of the renegade Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM), to derail the MILF-Philippine Government peace talks—scheduled to resume on Monday.

“Nagpapansin dahil [napag-iwanan] sila sa talks kasi it was declared a lawless group by the MILF, di ba?” Hermoso said.

He likewise said the BIFF usually launches attacks weeks before the Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, which is supposed to start on July 10 for this year.

Last October, the government and the MILF signed a landmark framework agreement that would pave the way for the creation of a Bangsamoro territory to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghazali Jaafar earlier appealed to the BIFM to support the preliminary peace agreement with the government. — with Andreo Calonzo /LBG, GMA News
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